Charles Samuels Named to Lead U.S. Bureau of Prisons


Charles E. Samuels Jr. was named director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Wednesday by Attorney General Eric Holder. The appointment of Samuels, a 23-year veteran of the agency, means that Holder rejected calls for leadership of the bureau, one of the largest Justice Department units, by an outsider. Holder said Samuels “will provide the kind of effective and innovative leadership that will increase efficiency, further expand prisoner development and reentry programs, and allow for transparency and accountability at the Federal Bureau of Prisons – while remaining true to the BOP's core mission of protecting public safety.”

Samuels currently serves as assistant director of the bureau’s Correctional Programs Division, overseeing all inmate management functions. He started as a federal corrections officer in 1988. Among several positions, he has been a warden of federal prisons in Manchester, Ky. and Ft. Dix, N.J. Last spring, the American Bar Association suggested that Holder name a director with a broad range of experience to head the bureau, noting that it always had named a director from within its ranks. Later, two dozen criminal justice groups called for a reformer to head what it called a “bloated” agency that “functions at nearly 140% capacity where prisoners are warehoused, rather than rehabilitated,” Samuels succeeds Harley Lappin, who retired in May after he was arrested for drunk driving.

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