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Durbin Vows Hearing on Prison Unit's Keeping Ex-Head As Adviser

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, plans to hold an oversight hearing on the crisis-plagued federal Bureau of Prisons after a report that the agency is keeping former director Michael Carvajal on the payroll as an adviser to his successor, the Associated Press reports. Durbin, who demanded Carvajal be fired last November amid myriad failings, said he was dismayed by continuing misconduct within the agency and by its unwillingness to cut ties with the former director. Carvajal submitted his resignation in January but remained in charge until the new director, Colette Peters, was sworn in Tuesday after a lengthy search process.


Carvajal is staying on through the end of the month as a senior adviser to Peters, the former director of Oregon’s state prison system. Durbin said he’s “hopeful for serious reforms at BOP,” but it is time to move on from Carvajal’s failed leadership. Peters has pledged to overhaul the federal agency, which was plagued by myriad problems during Carvajal’s two years in charge. She has pledged greater transparency and accountability for the Bureau of Prisons, the Justice Department’s largest component with a budget of more than $8 billion. AP reported on widespread problems, including rampant sexual assault at a California women’s prison, widespread staff criminal conduct, dozens of escapes, deaths and staffing woes hampering responses to emergencies. Durbin demanded Carvajal’s firing after the AP reported that more than 100 Bureau of Prisons workers have been arrested, convicted or sentenced for crimes since the start of 2019.

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