Durbin wants new head for federal prisons after report details abuse at Thomson prison – Shaw Local

In a floor speech, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois called on the attorney general to fire the nation’s chief of prisons after reports of deaths and abuse at Thomson Federal Penitentiary.

Michael Carvajal, director of the Bureau of Prisons, had announced his resignation in the weeks following a November 2021 report by The Associated Press detailing employee misconduct throughout the prison system. Attorney General Merrick Garland has not named a successor and Carvajal remains in office.

Durbin, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reiterated his call for a new director on Thursday after the latest report from National Public Radio and the Marshall Project details the deaths of seven inmates and allegations of staff abuse. from Thomson.

AFGE Local 4070 President Jon Zumkehr, who represents federal prison workers, sent out a press release on Thursday saying he supports an investigation into the allegations and that Durbin and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth had were invited to visit the prison.

In his speech to the Senate, Dubin said, “One investigation after another has exposed a culture of abuse, mismanagement, corruption, torture and death that is reaching to the top.”

He said Thomson, which opened the state in 2001 but became fully part of the federal system in 2019, was supposed to alleviate overcrowding within the federal system, but “the reality, unfortunately, has been the exact opposite.”

According to the Marshall Project, five inmates were killed by other inmates and two died by suicide.

“These deaths are just a snapshot of the dark reality of this facility, the deadly dark reality,” Durbin said.

Durbin said he, Duckworth and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos, whose 17th District includes Thomson, asked Justice Department Inspector Michael Horowitz to launch an investigation into the jail. Horowitz confirmed to Durbin that an investigation was ongoing.

Durbin requested that the attorney general appoint a “reformist” director or appoint an acting director. “We must act before another inmate dies in the custody and care of this federal government,” Durbin said.

Durgin said his committee will hold a hearing on the Bureau of Prisons. Some of the allegations involve the use of housing restrictions within the system.

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