Blog Article 

 New BOP Director 

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Michael Santos

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July 12, 2022

I’m happy to write with some good news for all people in federal prison.

Earlier I wrote about our work with subject-matter experts. Those people previously held high-level positions with the Bureau of Prisons. One of those people is Hugh Hurwitz, a former director of the BOP. About a month ago, Hugh told me about the front-runner to lead the BOP. Her name is Colette Peters, and her most recent career was leading the Oregon Department of Corrections.

  • Initial Article on Colette Peters
Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters

The DOJ website published the following news on July 12, 2022:

She will assume her duties on Tuesday, August 2, 2022.

I’m encouraged by the appointment of Director Peters for several reasons. Primarily, unlike previous directors, Ms. Peters did not begin her career on the custody side of the BOP. In other words, she did not rise by working as a correctional officer, lieutenant, captain, and so forth.

People who develop careers in security or custody tend to be more cynical of a person’s capacity to grow or change. They rarely support the relationship between effective programs and lowering recidivism rates.

Director Peters earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and her master’s degree in criminal justice. She began her career as a crisis mediator. Ms. Peters also worked with juvenile justice before becoming the Oregon Department of Corrections director. While leading the state of Oregon’s prison system, she reduced the use of segregation and worked to transform the prisons to be more humane. After studying the progressive prison system in Norway, she brought reforms to the Oregon State Department of Corrections.

Based on my conversations with previous directors of the BOP, I anticipate that Ms. Peters will bring her progressive ideas to the Bureau of Prisons. With Director Peters’ leadership, I am hopeful that we will see the Bureau lead by incentivizing a pursuit of excellence rather than threatening harsher punishments.

Although several months may pass before we see the BOP reflecting Director Peters’ leadership, I am optimistic.

Before the end of the year, I expect we’ll see more consistency with the Earned Time Credits and more clarity with how the BOP applies those credits. It should also lead to expanding programs that qualify for Earned Time Credits. At Prison Professors, we’re active in developing such programs.

I look forward to sharing more news on that front with our subscribers when it’s appropriate.

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