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ANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker announced Monday that his office recently began an administrative review on the Alaska Department of Corrections to look for ways to improve department policies and ensure inmate safety. The review is being led by Dean Williams, former Superintendent of the McLaughlin Youth Center and Special Assistant to Governor Walker, and Joe Hanlon, a retired Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“I have been looking for ways to improve Department of Corrections’ operations since my first day in office, and this review is the critical next step to appropriately address these matters,” said Governor Walker. “I have assigned Dean Williams and Joe Hanlon to lead this administrative review because their experience in the criminal justice and corrections systems will allow them to better comprehend the information presented and provide valuable analysis of the department’s policies.”
“I spoke with Governor Walker about this review a few weeks ago and pledged my full support on behalf of the Department of Corrections. I look forward to working with Mr. Williams and Mr. Hanlon in their analysis of our department operations,” said Department of Corrections Commissioner Ron Taylor.
Mr. Williams spent 13 years working as a juvenile justice superintendent, overseeing the state’s smallest facility in Nome and the state’s largest facility, the McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage. In these roles, he conducted approximately 40 internal investigations on employee conduct, reviewed safety operations for the facilities, and was responsible for re-writing facility operations and personnel investigation policies. He also spent five years working in the Nome and Kotzebue district attorney’s offices, where he was responsible for follow-up investigation work on criminal cases. Currently, Williams is the Special Assistant to Governor Walker, a role he will temporarily step away from while leading this review.
Mr. Hanlon is a 34-year veteran of the FBI, where he served as a Special Agent working on criminal investigations in Seattle and Spokane, WA; Los Angeles, CA; Anchorage, AK; and Boston, MA. These investigations included civil rights matters related to law enforcement and corrections personnel. Following his retirement, Hanlon worked on contract with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Diplomatic Security, conducting security clearance background investigations. He has also worked as a private investigative contractor for various clients throughout Alaska.
“This internal review is intended to address the concerns that have been raised about the Department of Corrections and, if necessary, identify solutions that will allow them to better fulfil their duties as a state agency,” Governor Walker said.