Generally Qualified: There’s a New Bureau of Prisons Director

U.S. Army General salutes
Gen. John Campbell and Gen. John Nicholson performed the passing of the colors as part of the COMRS change of command ceremony at Camp Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan. With this ceremony, Gen. John Nicholson assumes the duties as the new commander of Resolute Support, U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

Trump apparently holds his generals very near and dear to his heart. Days after Gen. John Kelly replaced Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff; Attorney General Jeff Sessions nominated a general, this time to lead the federal prison system for civilians.

General Mark S. Inch is now in charge of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

A General ‘Uniquely Qualified’ for the New Role

The general worked as an army policeman for more than two decades and was recently appointed the Director of Army Corrections. His resume made him “uniquely qualified” for the new position, according to Sessions.

The BOP oversees all prisoners that are accused of infringing or have infringed federal laws. Last year, the federal prison system was comprised of 122 units populated by nearly 190,000 inmates.

In the U.S., around three-quarters of inmates are put behind bars for nonviolent crimes even though many of them aren’t convinced yet, or they are awaiting trial. According to a March report from the Prison Policy Initiative, around 440,000 out of 630,000 inmates in local prisons haven’t been convicted.

Incarceration System Could Become even More Punitive

Nevertheless, the U.S. incarceration system is much larger than the civilian federal prison system and includes many military facilities which are traditionally run by army officers. Asking a general to lead the civilian prison system could lead to an, even more, punitive incarceration system, where more people are jailed without conviction.

On the other hand, appointing a general to a position that is traditionally given to civilians is not a novelty for the Trump administration. During the transition period, the Trump team had three generals on board: Trump’s former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John Kelly, and Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis.

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