By Christopher Zoukis
Only a few months after retiring from the Army, former Major General Mark S. Inch was appointed to serve as the new Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on Aug. 1.
In May, Inch retired from his position as Provost Marshal General, the Army’s top policing official, in charge of the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), as well as the Army Corrections Command. Inch held that post since mid-September 2014, with the rank of Brigadier General at that time.
Announcing the appointment, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called Gen. Inch “uniquely qualified to lead our federal prison system,” pointing to his 35 years of military service here and abroad, his almost quarter century work in the military police system and his command of military prisons for the last several years.
In his announcement, Sessions added that his “confidence” Inch “will be a highly effective leader of the Bureau of Federal Prisons” was “second only to my gratitude for his willingness to continue his service… in this critical role.”
Before becoming Provost Marshal General in September 2014, Inch was the commander of Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. According to an Army statement, in that capacity, he was responsible for “Detainee Operations and Rule of Law Development within the Army’s Security Sector.” He had earlier had a similar role during the war in Iraq.
Besides Iraq and Afghanistan, assignments during his more than nine years of overseas service have included stints in Germany (where he commanded a company of military police), Somalia (where was deputy provost marshal for United Nations forces), Japan (as deputy provost marshal for U.S. forces in that country), and Korea.
Stateside, the much-decorated veteran soldier commanded the military’s maximum-security prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, for just over two years and previously had run the confinement facility at California’s Fort Ord, served as executive officer for a Colorado-based military police battalion, and commanded the army’s Military Police School, at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. He also served in various capacities at the Army’s corrections headquarters in the greater Washington area.
A 1982 graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, Gen. Inch also holds masters degrees from the University of Texas and from an armed forces graduate school. Early in his military police career, he won professional certification from the American Correctional Association (ACA), and was the first member of that organization to earn designation as a Certified Corrections Executive with Honor.
Throughout his career, he also actively pushed for members of the military police to obtain ACA certification. In 2012 that group’s Commission on Accreditation for Corrections named General Inch to receive its highest annual award honoring individuals for their support of correctional certification. In 2013, Gen. Inch and his wife Barbara jointly received the ACA’s highest award.
Inch succeeds acting director Thomas Kane, who moved up to that post in January, after having worked in various positions for BOP for 40 years. BOP had no immediate word on Kane’s future plans or possible continuing role at the agency.
About Christopher Zoukis
Christopher Zoukis is an outspoken prisoner rights and correctional education advocate who is incarcerated at FCI Petersburg Medium in Virginia. He is an award-winning writer whose work has been published widely in major publications such as The Huffington Post, Prison Legal News, New York Daily News and various other print and online publications. Learn more about Christopher Zoukis at christopherzoukis.com and prisoneducation.com.