US attorney general shakes up prisons bureau after Epstein death

A view of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the prison where US financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell.
A view of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the prison where US financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Attorney General William Barr on Monday (Aug 19) announced a new leadership team at the federal Bureau of Prisons in a shakeup of the agency in the wake of financier Jeffrey Epstein's suicide inside a federal jail in Manhattan.

Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, a veteran of the Bureau of Prisons, will return to the agency to serve as its director, Barr said.

He named another former agency official, Thomas Kane, to serve as her deputy.

Hugh Hurwitz, who has been serving as the bureau's acting director - including when Epstein was found unresponsive over a week ago in a Manhattan jail cell - has been reassigned to his prior position within the agency.

Epstein had been arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty to federal charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14.

His death was ruled a suicide by hanging, according to an autopsy report released on Friday.

His death at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan triggered multiple investigations and had prompted Barr to criticise "serious irregularities" at the facility.

 

"During this critical juncture, I am confident Dr. Hawk Sawyer and Dr. Kane will lead BOP with the competence, skill, and resourcefulness they have embodied throughout their government careers," Barr said in the statement.