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Kathleen Hawk Sawyer

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Name  Kathleen Sawyer

Role  Psychologist
Kathleen Hawk Sawyer
Education  West Virginia University, Wheeling Jesuit University

Dr. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer was the first female director of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. She served as director between 1992 and 2003.



Hawk Sawyer is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit College, where she obtained a bachelor's degree in psychology. She obtained both a master's degree and an Ed.D. in Counseling and Rehabilitation from West Virginia University.

Early career

In 1976, Hawk Sawyer was employed as a psychologist at the Federal Correctional Institution, Morgantown in Morgantown, West Virginia. This employment started her career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. She was named Chief of Psychology Services at the institution in 1983. Hawk Sawyer started her career in 1976 as a psychologist at the Federal Correctional Facility in Morgantown, West Virginia. She went on to hold positions at various prisons across the United States, including at Sargus Juvenile Detention Center in St. Clairsville, Ohio. While at the Sargus Juvenile Detention Center, she established a psychological counseling program for juveniles and their families. In May 1989, she became the Assistant Director for the Program Review Division at the Central Office of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. While in that position, she "was responsible for developing and implementing a system of internal controls for all Bureau operations."

As Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons

On December 4, 1992, Hawk Sawyer was appointed the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons by William Barr, the Attorney general at the time. While director, she focused her efforts on reducing recidivism by giving more opportunities for education and employment to prisoners. She also sought to offer secondary education at every federal institution, and substance abuse programs. Hawk Sawyer retired from the position in 2003.


In 1992, she received the Attorney General's Award for Excellence in Management. In 1994, she received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service. In 1997, President Bill Clinton awarded her with the Presidential Distinguished Executive Award, which is the highest governmental award that is offered to professionals in her line of work. Also in 1997, she received the Surgeon General's Medallion from the Office of the Surgeon General. Hawk Sawyer was awarded with the Association of State Correctional Administrators' Michael Francke Award in 1998. In 2000, she again received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service. In 2001, Hawk Sawyer was awarded the Edmund Randolph Award for outstanding service in the Department of Justice. She was also awarded the Eastern Kentucky University College of Justice and Safety Distinguished Professional Award in 2003.


Kathleen Hawk Sawyer Wikipedia

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