There’s a lot going on in the disgusting Alabama prison system. Reforms are coming down the pipe, albeit for all the wrong reasons. The state system is so out of whack that the federal government could put it into receivership. This is not desirable to state lawmakers. As state Sen. Cam Ward explains, “we have to step up and make some bold political choices or else we’re going to have a third or fourth of our general fund budget controlled by the federal government” (source). So reforms may come in order to insure the most basic protections from cruel and unusual punishment exist. Currently, the state system is full of cruel and unusual punishment.
This comes on the heels of a federal report on the systemic sexual abuse of inmates at Tutwiler Prison for Women. Among other things, the report found that “For nearly two decades, Tutwiler staff have harmed women in their care with impunity by sexually abusing and sexually harassing them.”
Meanwhile, prisoners in several state facilities have organized protests of their deplorable conditions. Most vocally, the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), an organization of ‘incarcerated citizens’, has launched into the spotlight with a website featuring 60 videos exposing the conditions in Alabama prisons, and penning a book and prison reform bill. FAM staged a work strike in January. A follow up strike planned for mid-April was crushed by prison officials, however more follow up actions are planned (source).
Stay tuned for more on the situation in Alabama.
Solidarity with incarcerated citizens (and non-citizens) in Alabama!