After 30 years of service with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Michael Carvajal, Director, this week notified Justice Department leadership of his plans to retire.
Director Carvajal assumed leadership of the agency during an unprecedented time, when the United States became subject to the most virulent pandemic in modern history. The BOP leveraged the Director's vast and deep range of experience to guide the agency through the ever-evolving landscape of the BOP's operations during the pandemic to ensure the protection of staff and inmates. The BOP is responsible for the safety and security of 150,000 incarcerated individuals and 36,000 employees. Despite reports to the contrary, Director Carvajal ensured that the agency adhered to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to mitigate and prevent disease transmission, while still managing the secure operation of the largest prison system in the United States. In addition, Director Carvajal successfully oversaw the agency's mission during one of the most significant hurricanes to make landfall in the southeastern United States, coupled with national protests and civil unrest which disrupted much of the country. Most importantly, Director Carvajal shepherded the agency in implementing one of its most significant reforms, resulting from the passage of the First Step Act of 2018. This legislation, which seeks to address inmate recidivism by promoting needs-based programming, mirrors Director Carvajal's tenets of correctional management throughout his career to incentivize inmate behavior through positive reinforcement and program completions.
Director Carvajal began his career with the BOP in 1992 as a Correctional Officer, after serving in the United States Army and attaining the rank of Sergeant E5. He served the agency with distinction in a variety of capacities from his initial assignment as a Correctional Officer at the Federal Correctional Institution in Three Rivers, Texas, to almost every major leadership position in the agency: Lieutenant, Captain, Correctional Services Administrator, Associate Warden, Warden, Regional Director, and Assistant Director. Steadfast in refining his own leadership skills, Director Carvajal has been an advocate of staff training and growth. He seeks innovative solutions to resolve the agency's management challenges, including the enhancement and promotion of staff training and hiring.
"Michael's career has been defined by his commitment to the bureau, to its mission, and to the people we all serve. I am extremely appreciative of Michael's decades of public service, most recently at the helm of one of the most complex missions in the federal government," said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.
At the request of the Attorney General, Director Carvajal has agreed to continue to lead the agency until a successor is named. When his successor has been named, further details regarding Director Carvajal's retirement date will be provided.