Prison Warden Resigns Amid Lockdown, Federal Smuggling Probe, and Inmate Deaths

MADISON, Wis. – The warden of Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin has decided to step down amidst ongoing federal investigations, multiple inmate deaths, and lockdown conditions at the prison. Randall Hepp, who took on the role in 2020, announced his retirement, signaling a significant change in leadership at the troubled facility.

According to reports, Hepp emphasized that his decision was not easy but necessary for the betterment of the institution. His email to prison staff indicated that steps have been taken to improve safety within the prison, although details of these efforts were not disclosed.

The State Department of Corrections shared that Brad Mlodzik, a former deputy warden at Waupun, will assume the position of warden on June 30. The prison, along with facilities in Green Bay and Stanley, has been under a “modified movement” protocol due to a chronic shortage of guards.

In a separate development, inmates at Waupun have filed a lawsuit alleging that the lockdown conditions amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. Despite some easing of restrictions, in-person visitation had not resumed at the facility as of the latest update in April.

Furthermore, investigations into a possible smuggling ring involving prison employees have been ongoing since last year. Multiple staff members have been suspended in connection with the probe for allegedly providing contraband items such as cellphones and drugs.

Tragically, four inmates have died at Waupun since June 2023, raising concerns about the overall safety and well-being of the incarcerated population. These deaths, including suicides, drug overdoses, and mysterious circumstances, have prompted further scrutiny and legal actions.

As the prison grapples with these challenges, the leadership change at Waupun signals a potential opportunity for improvements and reforms within the institution. The transition to new leadership could mark a turning point in addressing the issues that have plagued the facility in recent years.