Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Michael Carvajal will step down from his position after nearly two years on the job, the BOP announced Wednesday.
Appointed by Attorney General William Barr, Carvajal faced scrutiny from the Biden administration and congressional Democrats, many of whom urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to fire him. Carvajal will stay in his position until Garland names his successor, the BOP said in a statement.
“Michael’s career has been defined by his commitment to the bureau, to its mission, and to the people we all serve. I am extremely appreciative of Michael’s decades of public service, most recently at the helm of one of the most complex missions in the federal government,” Garland said.
Carvajal first joined the BOP in 1992, following a career in the Army.
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Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee repeatedly urged Garland to fire Carvajal, citing the Bureau of Prisons’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, alleged serial criminal conduct by BOP employees, and a refusal to cooperate with congressional investigations into sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Prisons at the state and federal levels have become short-staffed, and the Biden administration has ordered the permanent release of thousands of prisoners. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: GOP Rep Will Introduce Legislation To Prevent Taxpayer-Funded Checks From Going To Prisoners)
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin celebrated Carvajal’s announcement.
“For years, the Bureau of Prisons has been plagued by corruption, chronic understaffing, and mismanagement. In the nearly two years since Director Carvajal was handpicked by then-Attorney General Bill Barr, he has failed to address the mounting crises in our nation’s federal prison system, including failing to fully implement the landmark First Step Act. His resignation is an opportunity for new, reform-minded leadership at the Bureau of Prisons,” he said in a statement.
Before his appointment to head the Bureau, Carvajal was northeast regional director. He was previously the warden of Federal Correctional Institute-Texarkana in Texas, and the complex warden of Federal Correctional Center-Pollock, in Louisiana.