Ala. Prison Commissioner believes state is safe from lawsuit over Tutwiler

Source: WBRC video
Source: WBRC video

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The latest now on the federal investigation into the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

In January the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sent Governor Robert Bentley a 36-page letter that describes a "toxic sexualized environment" and called the conditions unconstitutional.

In the letter, the DOJ says if they are unable to reach a resolution regarding sexual abuse at the prison, the U.S. Attorney General may sue anytime following 49 days after they've been notified.

Saturday, March 8 marks 49 days.

Friday, FOX6 News spoke with Alabama Prison Commissioner Kim Thomas on the phone. He says he believes Tutwiler is a safe prison for the women incarcerated there. He's been in touch with the DOJ during its investigation.

"We're not expecting a lawsuit at this time, the first thing we're expecting is an opportunity to sit down face to face from the staff of the Department of Justice so that's our first expectation and we look forward to meeting with them, to talking about these sensitive issues at Tutwiler," he said.

Commissioner Thomas also says they've initiated 58 different reforms at Tutwiler that came from a 2013 assessment by the National Institute of Corrections.

Thomas has turned down all of our requests to visit the prison.

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