Unrest on the rise in Alabama prisons

Alabama prisons are some of the most abusive and overcrowded in the country, with some prisons having twice as many inmates as they are designed to hold. They are also extremely understaffed, a situation that is creating a crisis for authorities.  Alabama has a 1 to 11 inmate to guard ratio, compared to 1 to 6 in surrounding states.[1] St. Clair Prison has 281 security positions budgeted for but only 196 employed, and 60% of officers leave within their first five years.[2] It was locked down at least five times due to violent incidents in 2015.[2]

Fifty-one percent of Alabama’s inmate population is serving time for nonviolent property and drug offenses.[1] But the harsh conditions and brutality they have been enduring have created conditions that are perfect for the eruption of violence in prisons throughout the state. Prisoners have become more and more bold in resisting.

Nearby resistance
April 2015: Georgia State Prison.  At least four prisoners in the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville go on  hunger strike, demanding an end to the Tier Program, a system used to  withhold privileges from prisoners.  This comes after a 2012 hunger strike for better conditions, which itself followed the well-known statewide coordinated 2010 strike.[10] The 2010 work stoppage was part of what inspired prisoners to form the Free Alabama Movement, a statewide group to end abuse and slavelike conditions in prison labor.[11]

Recent Resistance in Alamaba
April  2011: Holman Prison. Inmates take control of a dorm, forcing  supervisors to order officers out of the dorm, and hold it for several  hours.  CERT team officers retook control, causing reportedly minor  injuries to inmates.[3]

January 2012: Lieber Prison.  Prisoners riot, stealing guards’ keys and breaking windows, pulling down lights out of the ceilings, breaking sprinkler heads, and using table legs as clubs.  No inmates were injured.[4]

January 2014: St. Clair Prison. Members of the Free Alabama Movement stage a prison-wide work stoppage over pay and court conditions.  1,100 of the 1,300 prisoners participated in the protest.[5] In related strikes, three Alabama facilities were shut down for weeks.[12]

June 2014: The Southern Poverty Law Center files a lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Corrections in June, alleging the inmate health care system is inadequate and unconstitutional.[8]

September 2014: St Clair Prison and Fountain Correctional Facility. Two physicians previously barred from practicing medicine in Alabama have returned to work. Their charges were having s­­­exual contact with patients, exchanging painkillers for sex, and impersonating another doctor to fill a phony prescription.[8]

January 2015: Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.  Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas resigns after a federal investigation into sexual abuse of inmates by guards.

March 2015: Ten Alabama wardens are moved to other prisons after lawsuits and complaints of violence and poor conditions.

April 2015: St Clair Prison. A violent outbreak between guards and prisoners sends one officer and 15 inmates to medical treatment.  Prisoners weilded handmade weapons including broom handles and locks tied to belts.[6]

September 2015: Donaldson Correctional Facility. After days of lockdown and other unusual restrictions on their movement, inmates occupy the dining hall before taking over the common area of the dormitory and refusing to lock down. Guards get reinforcements and brutally beat handcuffed inmates.

October 2015: St Clair Prison. Guards discover at least two handguns.  The prison is put on lockdown by a riot squad known for its brutality.

November 2015: G.K. Fountain Correctional Facility.  A riot breaks out, for reasons that are unknown but rumored to be racial.[7]

November 2015: St. Clair Prison. An inmate allegedly stabs a guard after the guard slapped him in the face. This is the latest in a series of beatings and stabbings of guards by prisoners since June.[7]

1. http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/2/3/2158244012460695
2. http://abc3340.com/news/local/guards-outnumbered-at-st-clair-correctional-facility
3. http://www.northescambia.com/2011/04/inmates-take-dorm-at-holman-prison-facility-now-under-control
4. http://www.live5news.com/story/17036917/special-report-behind-the-scenes-of-the-lieber-prison-riot
5. https://www.rt.com/usa/alabama-prisoners-inmates-slave-empire-520/
6. http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/04/17/officer-assaulted-inmates-injured-st-clair-prison/25956437/
7. https://anarchylive.noblogs.org/post/2015/11/13/riots-and-resistance-in-alabama-prisons/
8. http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2014/09/breaking_the_oath_alabama_pris.html
9. https://antistatestl.noblogs.org/post/2015/10/28/an-account-of-the-recent-rebellion-at-donaldson-correctional-facitlity-in-bessemer-alabama/
10. https://prisonbooks.info/2015/04/20/anarchist-resistance-in-georgia-prisons-continues/GSP  https://prisonbooks.info/2015/04/20/anarchist-resistance-in-georgia-prisons-continues/
11. http://www.hamptoninstitution.org/FAM-interview.html
12. http://news.infoshop.org/prisons/anarchist-perspective-prisoner-movements