Richard Allen named Department of Corrections commissioner

A week after Department of Corrections Commissioner Donal Campbell announced his resignation, Gov. Bob Riley has named Richard Allen to run Alabama's prisons.

Allen, who served as chief deputy attorney general under Jeff Sessions, Bill Pryor and Troy King, is an attorney with the Montgomery law firm of Capell and Howard.

In a news release, Riley said, "Richard Allen is a can-do person who is eager to tackle this job, reform the system and bring about some needed solutions."

Allen said, "Some have called this one of the toughest jobs in state government. I believe it's the best job in state government, and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Also Wednesday, Riley named his deputy legal adviser, Vernon Barnett, to the position of chief deputy commissioner of corrections. Barnett served as lead adviser to the Governor's Task Force on Prison Crowding.

Allen served for seven years during the 1960s in the U.S. Army in various command and staff assignments in Vietnam and West Germany. He achieved the rank of major and resigned his Army commission in 1970 to attend law school. After graduating from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1973, he served as law clerk for then-Chief Justice Howell Heflin on the Alabama Supreme Court. He retired as a brigadier general from the Army Reserve in 1993, where his last command was the 3rd Transportation Brigade in Anniston.

Allen, a native of Decatur, lives in Prattville.


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