Alabama prison chief: Changes underway at Tutwiler

Tutwiler Prison

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Work with a consulting group for three months has produced positive changes at Alabama’s prison for women, including providing more privacy for the inmates, the prison commissioner said Friday.

Gov. Robert Bentley hired the Moss Group from Washington, D.C., in March. The hiring came after the U.S. Justice Department and others criticized conditions at Tutwiler Prison in Wetumpka. The Justice Department said the prison had a history of “unabated staff-on-prisoner sexual abuse and harassment.”

Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas said shower curtains, toilet partitions and privacy curtains have been installed in part of the prison and the full installation should be complete by Oct. 1.

The Moss Group is reviewing security camera placement to provide better security and has assessed everything from meal schedules to laundry services.

“The result of our partnership is already having a positive impact on the department as well as Tutwiler, where efforts are ensuring a safer and healthier environment,” Thomas said in a news release.

The work is part of the prison’s efforts to comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act. The prison system’s new deputy commissioner of women’s services, Wendy Williams, said the National Institute of Corrections is helping the department work on policy and requirements to comply with the act.

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