November 16, 2021

Durbin Calls on AG Garland to Dismiss BOP Director Carvajal

Statement follows report that BOP is “hotbed of abuse, graft and corruption”

WASHINGTON – Following an Associated Press investigation that found that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is a “hotbed of abuse, graft and corruption, and has turned a blind eye to employees accused of misconduct,” U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to replace BOP Director Michael Carvajal, who was appointed during the Trump Administration:

“Director Carvajal was handpicked by former Attorney General Bill Barr and has overseen a series of mounting crises, including failing to protect BOP staff and inmates from the COVID-19 pandemic, failing to address chronic understaffing, failing to implement the landmark First Step Act, and more.  It is past time for Attorney General Garland to replace Director Carvajal with a reform-minded Director who is not a product of the BOP bureaucracy.

“We have a new Administration and a new opportunity to reform our criminal justice system.  It’s clear that there is much going wrong in our federal prisons, and we urgently need to fix it.  That effort must start with new leadership.”  

For years, Durbin has sought to address the injustices and challenges that impact the daily lives of incarcerated Americans and their families—along with the staff responsible for protecting both inmates and the communities surrounding our federal prisons.

He has worked across the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation like the Fair Sentencing Act and the First Step Act; held hearings on harrowing conditions of confinement, including the treatment of incarcerated individuals with mental illness and the abuse of solitary confinement; and, throughout both Republican and Democratic Administrations, has pushed DOJ and BOP to improve our criminal justice system.

In April, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first oversight hearing of the Federal Bureau of Prisons since 2019.  Durbin’s opening statement from that hearing is available here.

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