Caught in White House Turf War, Federal Prison Boss Quit

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A turf war between presidential adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Attorney General Jeff Sessions prompted the sudden resignation last week of Mark Inch, who served just nine months as director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, reports the New York Times. Inch, a retired Army major general, had complained to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that Sessions had largely excluded him from major staffing, budget and policy decisions. Inch also felt marginalized by Kushner in drafting prison reform legislation, officials said. He found himself caught in an ideological turf war between Kushner, who has championed reforms to the corrections system and more lenient federal sentencing, and Sessions, who has opposed significant parts of the bipartisan prison reform bill that Kushner backs.

The departure of Inch, who tried to navigate a middle course, creates a vacuum at a time when the bureau is grappling with issues such as workplace harassment, violence, gang activity, sentencing fairness and the funding of rehabilitation programs. “It’s disappointing,” said Jack Donson of FedCure, a nonprofit advocacy group for federal inmates. “The bureau finally gets someone from outside the culture who can, maybe, clean things out and within nine months he’s been railroaded out the door.” But some see Inch’s exit as an opening for Trump to take a more sweeping approach that would include sentencing reform — one of the few issues that offer him a chance for the kind of big, bipartisan deal he promised during the 2016 campaign.“The rap against General Inch is that he wasn’t a real reformer. In that sense, his departure is an opportunity,” said Kevin Ring, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

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