Alabama House committee holds hearings on abuse in state prisons
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. 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.
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. 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.
- Equal Justice Initiative, "EJI Finds Severe Physical and Sexual Abuse and Criminal Misconduct by Correctional Officers at Three Alabama Prisons," July 9, 2013
- AL.com, "Legislative prison committee plans to get update on alleged abuse of Alabama prisoners," August 26, 2013
- AL.com, "U.S. Justice Department investigating conditions at Tutwiler Prison," April 18, 2013