Former Ala. Corrections Chief Named Warden of Mobile Jail

 The state's former corrections chief has been named the new warden of Mobile County Metro Jail, filling a position that has been vacant for about 16 months.

Mike Haley, 57, who served as head of the Alabama Department of Corrections from 1999 to early this year under former Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat, will earn $97,000 per year in the new job.

Haley, who was replaced by new Republican Gov. Bob Riley with former Tennessee prisons chief Donal Campbell, will actually be getting a raise - he earned $86,210 as head of corrections.

"This is a new day for the Sheriff' Department and a new day for the jail," said Mobile County Sheriff Jack Tillman. The jail's last warden was Kenneth Cooper, who was hired in April 2002 but was fired a week later after the Mobile Register reported he had falsified information on his resume.

The last two years of Haley's tenure were marked by a struggle to accommodate and contain rapid population growth in the state prison system. The number of state inmates grew from 23,300 in February 1999 to 28,316 in January 2003. The overcrowding has resulted in several lawsuits against the state.

Haley faces challenges in Mobile also, including criticism about inmate care.

Tillman, the city of Mobile and Mobile County face a lawsuit claiming deficiencies in inmate care after inmate James Carpenter died in July 2000 from flesh-eating bacteria.

Tillman has also been criticized for failing to feed prisoners properly.