Law \ Legal

Alabama Prison Strike Exposed Deteriorating State System: Report

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Five days after Alabama prisoners launched a statewide labor strike, images and interviews from inside the state’s prisons show a system in disarray, with deteriorating conditions, pervasive violence, multiple deaths and little oversight from staff, reports Keri Blakinger for the Marshall Project and The Guardian. The findings contradict assurances made by Governor Kay Ivey that the head of the state’s corrections department had things “well under control.”

Less than 24 hours after the governor’s declaration prisoners recorded grainy cell phone footage of what appears to be a fatal stabbing in an Alabama lockup. Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed that inmate Denarieya Smith was killed at Donaldson correctional facility in an “inmate-on-inmate assault involving a weapon,” citing security concerns and refused to answer questions about whether the unit is understaffed. The county’s medical examiner confirmed that a second prisoner at Donaldson, Joseph Agee, had also been stabbed to death since the strike began. Both deaths are being investigated as homicides.

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