Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today announced that he has selected Colette S. Peters to serve as Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) at the Department of Justice.
“The Justice Department’s mission to uphold the rule of law, keep our country safe, and protect civil rights depends on an effective, safe, and humane correctional system,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Director Peters is uniquely qualified to lead BOP in its efforts to ensure the rehabilitation, health, and safety of incarcerated individuals, a safe and secure work environment for correctional staff, and transparency and accountability across federal detention facilities.”
BOP is one of the largest components of the Department of Justice and the nation's largest correctional agency, with approximately 150,000 federal offenders housed in 122 federal prisons, and 178 community-based facilities worldwide. The Director of BOP is responsible for leading over 36,000 employees in the implementation of BOP's core mission.
Ms. Peters has 30 years of experience in public safety and has been the Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) since 2012. She is the first woman to serve as ODOC Director and is also the Chair of the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board and a past Vice President of the Association of State Correctional Administrators.
“Colette Peters has a proven track record as a visionary leader in the field of corrections and public safety,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “With her experience and judgment, she is the right leader for BOP and its dual mission of providing both safe detention and meaningful preparation for those in custody reentering society. I look forward to working with her.”
Ms. Peters has demonstrated an ability to lead change by establishing a vision for reform, and using creativity, innovation, external awareness, and strategic thinking to achieve her vision. Under her leadership, ODOC developed the “Oregon Way,” a visionary approach to improving employee health and wellness and reducing the use of segregation for adults in custody to transform environments inside correctional facilities to be more humane and reflective of the outside community.
She began her career in public safety as a Victim Advocate and Crisis Mediator with the Denver Police Department. She was Director of Public Affairs for ODOC from 2004-2006, and the ODOC Assistant Director for Public Services and Inspector General from 2006-2008. From 2009-2012, she was Director of the Oregon Youth Authority, the state agency responsible for providing custody, rehabilitation, and treatment services to youth ages 12-24 who committed crimes prior to their 18th birthday.
Ms. Peters earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the College of St. Benedict in Saint Joseph, Minnesota, and her master’s in criminal justice from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado in Denver.
She will assume her duties on Tuesday, August 2.