Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka has a new warden.
In the first big staffing change since a federal complaint was filed in May alleging sexual misconduct by prison officers, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas confirms to Fox 6 News that longtime warden Frank Albright has been reassigned to Kilby Correctional Facility in Montgomery.
Thomas says Bobby Barrett has replaced Albright as warden at Tutwiler. Barrett was previously warden of Kilby Correctional Facility. The changes went into affect November 1.
In May, attorneys with Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery filed a complaint that called for Albright's removal. The complaint was based on interviews with over fifty women who allege frequent officer-on-inmate sexual abuse. Thomas says the changes are not in response to the request by Equal Justice Initiative.
"It wasn't in specific response to the request by EJI," Thomas says. "It fits in a grander scheme of some other wardens who have retired, some senior level wardens who retired and the need to fill those positions and just reallocating wardens throughout the system."
In October, Commissioner Thomas responded to a possible leadership change at the prison, saying, "I'm not going to move a very passionate warden, someone who's dedicated a lot of their life to the department and the state, merely on the whim of one request."
Equal Justice Initiative says the Department of Justice is investigating the alleged abuse at Tutwiler. In June, Commissioner Thomas invited a team from the National Institute of Corrections to conduct an audit of Tutwiler and make recommendations to improve the prison.
Alabama's Department of Corrections is currently awaiting the recommendations and results of the audit.
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