Our Cameras Inside Tutwiler Prison
The Tutwiler women's prison in Wetumpka has been under fire for years for its conditions and for allegations that guards are sexually abusing and harrassing the female inmates. Tonight -- for the first time in nearly 12 years, our cameras have been allowed to go inside the prison so we can see the conditions for ourselves.. and check out some changes.
Reporter Catalina Trivino went inside the prison.
Trivino says the first thing she noticed was how many people were in there. Tutwiler is supposed to house 700 women inmates. It was holding nearly 1,000 inmates, but prison commissioner, Kim Thomas, says that's one of the changes they're working on.
News cameras inside Tutwiler Prison?
Back in January, this is what a former inmate told us about how she says a prison guard treated the female inmates.
Both the former inmate who talked to us and another inmate we spoke to by phone in February told us that having male guards watching them was a problem.
But the number of these cameras is going up. There will be more than 300 of them installed by mid-July. Thomas hopes it will keep inmates and prison guards accountable.
The idea is that a safer, cleaner prison will be a better place to rehabilitate these women. That way, they're more likely to become productive members of society and not ever return to Tutwiler. To help do that, the J.F. Ingram Technical College is inside the prison, where inmates can learn Automotive Mechanics, Cosmetology, Office Information Systems, Upholstery or Welding.
Prison officials say they'll be moving about 300 to 400 inmates to the old Tarwater facility behind Tutwiler, to create more space in one year. The renovations for the building begin this October.