Category Archives: Alabama

SOS From Holman: Suffocating Heat

June 24. 2009
Dearest Insight Family,
Thank you for the note of your support and solidarity. I pray that all who read this have a caring enough heart to call to this prison and to any local media outlets and kick up a little dust for us here at Holman. I am in a Security Housing Unit cell for 24 hours a day. I am in a cell with absolutely zero ventilation. The administration keeps blowing smoke saying that they are preparing to install air conditioning. But, what about the days and nights of agonizing heat we have to suffer through? What about being literally drenched in sweat for at least 21 out of the 24 hours in a day? Is it humane that we are forced to lay our mattresses on the floor by the door so that we can catch what little air comes under the crack of the door at the bottom? There are 6 exit doors. They could be opened to provide an added breeze but that is out. The warden says no. The tray slots could be left open to give a little relief, but, not that as well. I truly believe that it would be found much cooler in a city animal shelter. If the temp outside is 90, it most likely would about 105-107 with the heat index in the cells. As I write this I’ve used my face towel to wipe my sweaty face and chest 6 times. This is cruel and unusual treatment at its best. All the ones on the chain of commands hands are tied. Can’t go over the warden. In the coming weeks I predict a number of heat strokes and for some of the men to temporarily lose touch with reality having no respite from this high temperature. I predict a couple of suicide attempts. Hopefully, none are successful. But, my number one prediction is that the powers that be will continue to do nothing if you all in the greater society don’t apply pressure. We are in a concrete and tin building with zero ventilation. Sounds like one of the feared sweatboxes that were to be found on slave plantations!! This a human distress call! SOS!!

Le Barron Craig
3700 Holman M-18
Atmore, AL 36503


Expose from Free alabama movement’s facebook January 6.


1)Houses 200 men in semi sound proof isolation cells

2) No means to communicate emergencies to staff [men must scream at top of their lungs or kick on door for several minutes in an attempt to get staff attention ]

3) No cleaning supplies provided to sanitize cells

4) Forced to eat with same spoon for months [some up to 6 months or longer ]

5) No cups provided, many drink from old milk cartons for several months

6) 5 minute showers every other day depended upon staff

7) No access to Law Library

8) Several men assaulted [by staff and other incarcerated men ] while handcuffed behind back

9) Water contaminated

10) Not afforded access to telephone

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]