Janis Leigh Karpinski is a career officer in the US Army Reserve, now retired. She is notable for having commanded the forces that operated Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, at the time of the scandal related to torture and prisoner abuse. She commanded three prisons in Iraq, and the forces that ran them.
In June 2003, during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, Karpinski was given command of the 800th Military Police Brigade, which meant she was responsible for the 15 detention facilities in southern and central Iraq run by Coalition forces. Karpinski was also given command of the National Guard and Army reserve units in the Iraqi city of Mosul. In January 2004, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez formally suspended Karpinski and 16 other soldiers with undisclosed reprimands. An investigation was started into the abuse at Abu Ghraib, and Karpinski left Iraq for reasons that were explained at the time as part of "routine troop rotations."
On April 8, 2005 Karpinski was formally relieved of command of the 800th Military Police Brigade. On May 5, 2005, President George W. Bush approved Karpinski's demotion to Colonel from the rank of Brigadier General. Her demotion was not officially related to the abuse at Abu Ghraib.