BOP Posts

New BOP Chief Kathleen Hawk Sawyer: Prison or Rehabilitation?

New Bureau of Prisons Leadership Should Focus on Rehabilitation: (“Over the past decade and a half, many of our state criminal justice systems have abandoned unnecessarily punitive and ineffective practices and instead refocused on rehabilitation and preparing inmates for a successful return to society. Now is the time for the federal system to do the same. * * * Attorney General William Barr’s appointment of Kathleen Hawk Sawyer as the new director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons offers an opportunity to enact change at the federal level. For this to happen, Sawyer will need to show the same commitment, foresight, and drive she demonstrated when she previously held the role. * * * In 2001, when there was strong bipartisan support for so-called ‘tough-on-crime’ policies, Sawyer pushed back and said, ’70-some percent of our female population are low-level, nonviolent offenders.’ Sawyer went on to say that ‘[the fact that these women] have even come into prison is a question mark for me. I think it has been an unintended consequence of the sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums.’ She concluded by saying that many of the incarcerated women in question should have received probation instead.”)

First Step Act Frees Over 3,000 Federal Inmates

Inmates Freed as Justice Department Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law: (“More than 3,000 inmates were freed from federal prison on Friday as part of the Justice Department’s implementation of the sweeping bipartisan criminal justice overhaul that President Trump signed into law late last year. * * * The department has faced sharp criticism over its execution of the act. The partial government shutdown in January stymied progress on its implementation, which was further overshadowed by a debate over when the bill authorized the release of thousands of prisoners. * * * Advocates have expressed worries that the department would slow-walk implementation because former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others within the department who stayed on after he was fired had fiercely opposed the law. * * * The deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, sought to tamp down those concerns at a news conference on Friday to announce that the department had met the deadline for the prison releases, as well as other milestones of the law, called the First Step Act.”)