BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY)–-A longtime state corrections worker has been promoted as the new warden at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women.

Kristen Thomas will lead the prison, the Department of Corrections announced Monday.

Thomas, an assistant warden and mental health practitioner, assumed command of the prison Monday and replaces LCIW Warden Frederick Boutte, who is retiring at the beginning of the year, the DOC announced.

She is the first female to lead the prison in a decade.

“Warden Thomas brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this position,” said Jimmy Le Blanc, secretary, Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. 

“Warden Thomas’s extensive educational and clinical background aligns well with the Department’s ongoing efforts to develop a gender-responsive correctional program tailored to the unique needs of females in the criminal justice system. With the recently approved rebuild of LCIW, the state has a unique opportunity to reimagine what corrections for women looks like in the state, and to become a model for gender-responsive corrections nationally.” 

Thomas has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology from LSU, and has earned a Masters in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  

“I am humbled and am grateful for the confidence Secretary LeBlanc has in me to lead Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women,” Thomas said.

“I am excited about this opportunity and dedicated to building a relationship with my staff to successfully carry out the mission and goals of this Department, which include public safety, reentry, programming, and rehabilitation.”