AG Selects New Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons – Prosecutors Don’t Oppose the Pick

PC: Colette S. Peters

By Michele Chadwick    

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced this week he had selected Colette S. Peters to serve as Director of the embattled Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

The BOP is one of the largest components of the Department of Justice and the nation’s largest correctional agency, with approximately 150,000 individuals housed in 122 federal prisons, and 178 community-based facilities worldwide.

According to an investigation by The Associated Press last year, which uncovered a wide array of shortcomings, the federal prisons bureau has long been plagued by health and safety problems, physical and sexual abuse, corruption and turnover in the top management ranks. Staffing issues, exacerbated by the pandemic, have resulted in a huge shortage of prison guards and health personnel.

As the Director of BOP, Peters is responsible for leading over 36,000 employees in the implementation of BOP’s core mission. She will assume her duties on Tuesday, August 2.

“The Justice Department’s mission to uphold the rule of law, keep our country safe, and protect civil rights depends on an effective, safe, and humane correctional system,” said AG Garland. 

He added, “Director Peters is uniquely qualified to lead BOP in its efforts to ensure the rehabilitation, health, and safety of incarcerated individuals, a safe and secure work environment for correctional staff, and transparency and accountability across federal detention facilities.”

Ms. Peters has 30 years of experience in public safety and has been the Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) since 2012, the AG noted.

“Colette Peters has a proven track record as a visionary leader in the field of corrections and public safety,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. 

Monaco added, “With her experience and judgment, she is the right leader for BOP and its dual mission of providing both safe detention and meaningful preparation for those in custody reentering society. I look forward to working with her.”

The Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP), a network of elected local prosecutors, didn’t oppose the nomination.

“The BOP finds itself at a crossroads, dealing with crowded facilities resulting from decades of over-incarceration, a global pandemic impacting the health of all who are housed or work in the facilities, a movement to address systemic racism in our criminal legal system and calls to end the death penalty and dismantle the machinery of death at Terre Haute,” said FJP Executive Director Miriam Krinsky.

Krinsky added, “I know our nation’s prison system needs an experienced and innovative leader to address these ongoing challenges and crises. At this critical time, we hope Ms. Peters will usher in long-overdue change at the BOP while fighting for justice for every individual involved in the criminal legal system.”


About The Author

Michele is a senior at UC Santa Barbara from Los Angles County.

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