In the aftermath of Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide previously this month, Attorney General William Barr removed the acting head of the Prison Office, the Justice Department said Monday, replacing the top official of the agency.
In a declaration, Barr said Hugh Hurwitz would return to the assistant director role he had previously occupied, having served in the acting role since last year.
The new director will be Dr. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who led the office from 1992 to 2003, Barr said.
Barr has said he was “appalled” and “angry” to learn of the suicide, and cited “serious irregularities” at the Manhattan facility where Epstein had been detained.
Barr had already shaken up the top leadership at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, announcing last week that the facility’s warden would be reassigned while the FBI and Justice Department’s inspector general investigated the conditions leading up to the suicide.
At least one of the two employees on duty in Epstein’s unit at the time was not part of the regular detention workforce but was filling in as a guard and, according to a person briefed on the matter, Epstein had not been checked on for hours before his apparent hanging. Guards should inspect a prisoner in the unique residential unit of the facility where Epstein was every 30 minutes.
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