Days after the wealthy and politically-connected paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, above, was found hanging by a bed-sheet in his prison cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, the justice department on Monday removed acting head of the bureau of prisons (BOP), Hugh Hurwitz, US media reports say.
Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who had previously served as BOP chief for 11 years, will replace Hurwitz, Attorney General William Barr said.
Hurwitz’s new role within BOP remained unclear.
Epstein’s suicide came as a big embarrassment for the justice department as many of his victims were angry that they would never see him face justice for his crimes.
They wanted the department to explain why Epstein was taken off suicide watch even after he was found lying on his cell floor with neck injuries on July 23.
They also wanted jail officials responsible for the safety of Epstein to be sacked for letting his dark secrets die with him.
The reshuffle in BOP comes amid concerns about irregularities at the high security prison.
Last Tuesday, the jail’s warden Lamine N’Diaye was removed from the post and shifted to BOP’s regional office.
Two unidentified guards, who were supposed to check on Epstein every half an hour, were told to go on leave.
According to jail sources, one of the guards was not a full-fledged corrections officer.
The Manhattan facility is understaffed and its overworked officers often make log book entries without checking on inmates.
Such periodic checks did not happen hours before Epstein committed suicide, sources say.
In the meantime, New York Post reported on Tuesday that two days before he died, Epstein signed a new will transferring his $577 million in assets to a trust named after the year he was born.
The value of assets was $18 million more than what he had declared before the court.
The documents do not name any beneficiary to the trust although Epstein has an heir, his brother Mark Epstein.