Alabama House committee holds hearings on abuse in state prisons

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August 26, 2013

Alabama

By Nick Katers

MONTGOMERY, Alabama: The Alabama Joint Legislative Prison Committee will meet tomorrow to hear testimony about alleged abuses in state prisons. A non-profit organization called the Equal Justice Initiative published a report on July 9, 2013 that detailed prisoner abuse at three correctional facilities in Alabama.[1] Chairman Cam Ward (R) has asked Department of Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas to testify about investigations into these claims. Thomas will also be asked questions about a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into allegations of prisoner abuse at Tutwiler Prison for Women.[2][3]

Ward is advocating greater funding for community correctional facilities rather than state prisons to resolve these issues. He has asked Thomas to create a proposal that would include additional community facilities throughout the state. “I am going to issue a challenge to the commissioner and his staff to come up with a plan for the Legislature to look at in the upcoming session on how we can establish a stronger community corrections program to help relieve the overcrowding,” said Ward.[2] He believes that the facilities would not only reduce corrections costs in half but place prisoners into work programs that could generate repayment into the corrections budget.[2]

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