Former youth center superintendent named new Alaska corrections chief

JUNEAU - Gov. Bill Walker announced Thursday that he'd appointed Dean Williams to lead the state's corrections department, a move that comes a few months after Williams delivered a bombshell report on the department's failures.

"He had an opportunity to look pretty deeply into the issues with corrections," Walker said at a news conference Thursday morning. "And I believe he is by far the appropriate and best person to take this forward."

Williams, a former superintendent of McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage, will replace interim commissioner Walt Monegan, who succeeded the previous commissioner, Ron Taylor, following the November release of the report written by Williams and retired FBI agent Joe Hanlon.

The appointment caps a swift rise for Williams, who was hired by Walker last year as a special assistant before he was assigned to write the corrections report. The report found widespread dysfunction and failure in the state's prison system that may have led to inmate deaths.

"I know the challenges that are ahead," Williams told reporters. "I wrote about them."

Monegan, a former Anchorage police chief and state public safety commissioner, was one of 14 applicants for the corrections job, according to a spokeswoman for Walker, Katie Marquette. At the news conference Thursday, Walker said: "I don't think we've seen the last of Walt Monegan in our administration."

Marquette wouldn't provide any additional details about what role Monegan would have.

Nathaniel Herz

Nathaniel Herz is an Anchorage-based journalist. He’s been a reporter in Alaska for nearly a decade, with stints at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media. Read his newsletter, Northern Journal, at natherz.substack.com