Tutwiler Prison and its Warden

Wetumpka might be a beautiful place to live, but there's one place you probably don't want to call home. That would be Tutwiler Prison, the states only female prison. It houses ladies from minimum all the way up to maximum security. There are 700 inmates there.

The prison is named after Julia Tutwiler. She was an educator who visited the prison for men and women back in the 1930's. She thought an all female facility would work better and by 1942 it was done. Now Tutwiler makes clothing for all the inmates in the state of Alabama. "We do jackets, shorts, pants, boxer shorts, sheets, towels, all that we make right here in our clothing plant," said Tutwiler warden Gladys Deese. The warden says working in the clothing shop is a top job, not because of the whopping .25 cent per hour salary, but because of the air conditioning. It gets real hot there in the summer.

Running Tutwiler prison is a tough job and it takes a special person. They have the perfect lady for the job. Gladys Deese describes herself as "stern but compassionate." Deese has been the warden at Tutwiler for the last 5 years. She graduated from Troy State back in 1979. She started as a prison counselor and worked her way up the ranks. She says her main goal is to have the inmates leave with dignity and respect for others. We asked her what's the toughest part of her job? Her response, "when an inmate has come to me and tried to do her best and she goes out and says I'm not coming back, and when I get the list for who's coming in the next day and I see that young ladies name back on the list, that is the most disturbing part.

As for the best part, Deese says that's easy. She loves her staff, and she loves seeing a former inmate on the street when the come up to her and tell her how they've changed their life for the better.

As much as she loves it, she'll soon call it quits. Deese says she'll retire in the next year. You can tell she'll be missed.