WASHINGTON ― The federal Bureau of Prisons has quietly fired an education specialist the Justice Department hired to serve as the first “superintendent” of the educational system within federal prisons, HuffPost has learned.
The Obama administration brought on Amy Lopez last year to overhaul educational programs for federal prisoners, with the hope of easing their re-entry into society and reducing recidivism. Lopez was fired last week ― leaving the future of the reform efforts under President Donald Trump in doubt.
“They’re shitcanning it,” a person who worked on the prison reform efforts disclosed to HuffPost this week. “It’s tragic. This is really tragic.” Another person familiar with the status of the program said the initiatives had been “canned or placed on hold” covertly.
Lopez declined to comment on Thursday, saying she needed to speak with a lawyer before she could talk to a reporter. A Justice Department spokeswoman said Thursday she was not aware of Lopez’s firing or broader changes to the prison reform plans the Obama administration put in place, and referred questions to the Bureau of Prisons. A BOP spokeswoman said Friday morning that the agency had “no announcements or updates regarding our programs at this time.” The BOP spokeswoman did not respond to questions about Lopez’s firing or the status of some prison reform initiatives.
Lopez “uprooted her whole life” to take the job as superintendent of the BOP’s education, according to a person who worked on the efforts. In November, Lopez left a job in Texas, where she had worked as an educator in the prison system. The job she accepted under former President Barack Obama would have put her in charge of what DOJ called a “semi-autonomous school district within the federal prison system,” with the goal of giving prisoners the opportunity to earn their high school diploma and pursue post-secondary studies.
Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who was…