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Outgoing Bureau of Prisons director Harley Lappin arrested for drunk driving

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      Mike Riggs

      Mike Riggs is a staff writer at The Daily Caller. He has written and reported for Reason magazine and reason.com, GQ, the Awl, Decibel, Culture 11, the Philadelphia Bulletin, and the Washington City Paper, where he served as an arts and entertainment editor.

Several days after the Department of Justice announced his retirement, Bureau of Prisons Director Harley Lappin sent an email to staff notifying them that he had recently been arrested for driving under the influence.

“I recently allowed a lapse in my judgment to occur, giving rise to potential embarrassment to the agency, the Department of Justice, and my position of director,” reads an internal email Lappin sent to members of the BOP staff on Tuesday. “I was arrested for driving under the influence. I immediately notified my supervisor, as all of us are required to do, and the matter will proceed through the courts.”

But even though the two announcements were made within a week of each other, Bureau of Prisons spokesperson Traci Billingsley says Lappin made plans to retire long before his recent arrest. “He had plans to retire in spring 2011 before the incident occurred,” Billingsley said.

Lappin has worked at the Bureau of Prisons since 1993, and has been BOP director since 2003, according to WhoRunsGov.

In a statement released last week* announcing Lappin’s retirement, Attorney General Eric Holder said Lappin “has lent his invaluable insights and expertise to address prison overcrowding and expand prisoner development and rehabilitation programs. He has worked tirelessly to provide people who have committed crimes with the job skills and educational opportunities necessary to make positive contributions once they reenter our communities.”

Lappin’s memo to staff is reprinted in full below:

Message from the Director
Topic: Personal Matter
March 29, 2011
Harley G. Lappin, Director
Bureau of Prisons

During my tenure as Director I have enjoyed communicating with you through these Messages to Staff on a variety of important issues. Today, the information is personal and especially difficult to share. Nevertheless, I appreciate the opportunity to address you directly.

I recently allowed a lapse in my judgment to occur, giving rise to potential embarrassment to the agency, the Department of Justice, and my position of Director. I was arrested for driving under the influence. I immediately notified my supervisor, as all of us are required to do, and the matter will proceed through the courts.

As I have said over the years, our behavior as staff extends beyond the confines of our work, because our affiliation with the Bureau of Prisons remains with us regardless of where we are or what we are doing. And as law enforcement officers we have a particular responsibility to respect the rule of law. It is with great humility that I offer my most sincere apology to each and every one of you for failing to lead by example. I extend my sincere gratitude to all of you for the support you have shown me during my tenure as Director and I am confident that through you, the agency will continue to do great things in the years ahead.

I hope to thank many of you personally, prior to my retirement on May 7, 2011, for the wonderful work you do in support of the Bureau of Prisons.

The post originally said that Holder’s statement was released Tuesday. Lappin’s email was released Tuesday, Holder’s statement was released last week.

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  • rollcallglennlangohr

    In prison on drug charges, I felt inspired to start writing–to bring a view never before seen, and to show that the path we are on is only building bigger criminals. Roll Call by Glenn Langohr is a drug war novel the NY Reviews related to the movie Traffic. I started http://www.lockdownpublishing.com to help other inmates with instructional writing guides. You want to see some real life stuff, better than Law and Order?
    Go easy on the prison officials, they are doing time also.

  • Pingback: Outgoing Bureau of Prisons director Harley Lappin arrested for drunk driving « Keep Reading

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Kilgore/1086803805 Brian Kilgore

    It would be very interesting to know if AG Holder was aware of Lappin’s pending charges before praising his service. And it would be equally interesting to know if Lappin was on his way home from an official Bureau of Prisons function at the time of his arrest.

    • leilani

      I dunno. I’m having a hard time getting too outraged about this. I suspect the jury will go pretty easy on him too.

      I mean, wouldn’t you get blind drunk celebrating your retirement from this disaster of an Administration too?

      I’m thinking I’d need to get pretty snockered just to contemplate the fact that my CV had been permanently stained with even a short term of service to a crook like Eric Holder.

      • jeronimodan

        There will never be a trial, it’s his first offense, it will be reduced, with a fine and probation. I’m with you on the fact of working for this administration, I’d have to have about a pint before seven in the morning just to get the courage to go to work.

  • Pingback: Bureau of Prisons Director Faces Drunk Driving Charges | Main Justice

  • lukuj

    He drinks. What is the excuse for the rest of those that work in the administration in any way, especially the czars. They all sound, look, and act like they are drunk(probably with power) even when they aren’t. I wish they would all resign also, except obama would probably appoint people who are even worse – if that is possible.

  • leilani

    Well, with a name like Lappin’, it was probably preordained that he’d grow up to have a drinking problem, wasn’t it? ;-)

    • leilani

      Now if he’d been born with a name like Sippin, I think this news would be more of a shock.

  • Rocketman

    As a former insider with the BOP, I can safely say that such behavior has been going on for decades. Casinos, strip bars, happy hour(s) are the norm for the personnel in suits – especially when they are away from their wives while “on business”.
    Been there, seen that.
    This idiot just happened to get caught.

    ~(Ä)~

    • borntoraisehogs

      The suits are driven to drink by the smuggling, stealing, sex maniac, badge heavy COs working for them.