WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a lead author of the landmark First Step Act, today met virtually with Colette Peters, the new Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). During their meeting, Durbin asked Peters to commit to root out misconduct and implement badly needed reforms—including the continued implementation of the First Step Act—at BOP and emphasized his expectation that BOP will cooperate with the Judiciary Committee’s oversight requests in a timely manner. Peters was sworn in as BOP’s new Director yesterday, following Durbin’s repeated calls for Attorney General Garland and Deputy Attorney General Monaco to replace former BOP Director Michael Carvajal with a reform-minded leader.
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“After today’s meeting, I’m more hopeful than ever that with Director Peters, Attorney General Garland and Deputy Attorney General Monaco have chosen the right leader to clear out the bureaucratic rot and reform BOP,” said Durbin. “It is a tall order, but on today’s call, I promised to work with Ms. Peters to help her succeed in this new role.”
A photo of today’s meeting is available here.
Durbin called for a new, reform-minded Director to replace former BOP Director Carvajal back in November 2021, following an Associated Press report that found that BOP is a “hotbed of abuse, graft, and corruption, and has turned a blind eye to employees accused of misconduct.” Carvajal’s resignation was announced less than two months later.
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 the people incarcerated in our federal prisons and the communities surrounding them. 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.