2nd US prisons official leaving as agency scrutinized

AP Political

WASHINGTON (AP) — The deputy director of the beleaguered federal Bureau of Prisons will leave his position at the end of May, the second top executive to announce a departure in as many days.

Gene Beasley will retire from the agency on May 31, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that Director Michael Carvajal was resigning from his position amid increased scrutiny over his leadership and in the wake of Associated Press reporting that uncovered widespread problems at the agency.

Beasley started working at the Bureau of Prisons as a correctional officer at a prison in Illinois in 1997 and has held a variety of positions, including in human resources and as associate warden and complex warden at the prison complexes in Forrest City, Arkansas, and Allenwood, Pennsylvania. Before being named as the agency’s deputy director in June 2020, he worked as a regional director overseeing operations at federal prisons in the western U.S.

The announcements of Beasley’s and Carvajal’s departures come weeks after the AP revealed that more than 100 Bureau of Prisons workers have been arrested, convicted or sentenced for crimes since the start of 2019, including a warden charged with sexually abusing an inmate.

Their tenure as the agency’s top officials has been marred by the rampant spread of the coronavirus inside federal prisons, a failed response to the pandemic, dozens of escapes, deaths and critically low staffing levels that have hampered responses to emergencies. The agency has also been plagued by violence, including a spate of inmates killed during altercations with fellow prisoners in November and December.

Carvajal’s resignation followed calls from Democratic lawmakers for his removal, including the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Several congressional committees had also been looking into Carvajal and the Bureau of Prisons, questioning employees about misconduct allegations.

Carvajal is expected to remain as director in an interim capacity until his successor is named. It is unclear how long that process will take.

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On Twitter, follow Michael Balsamo at twitter.com/mikebalsamo1 and Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak. Send confidential tips by visiting https://www.ap.org/tips/

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