Jamiesfeast – The Alabama Department of Corrections recorded the highest number of deaths in 2023, with at least 325 reported fatalities, as per information obtained by Alabama Appleseed.
“In the weeks after we started tracking prison deaths starting January 1 of last year, we quickly realized we’d very likely see another record year of deaths, and we were correct,” Eddie Burkhalter, a researcher with Alabama Appleseed, said.
According to Burkhalter’s report, there has been a notable rise in the number of deaths in Alabama prisons since 2019. The Department of Justice conducted an investigation and determined that the state’s prisons were unconstitutional, leading to the DOJ filing a lawsuit against Alabama in 2020. The case is set to begin in November 2024. This disturbing trend of over 1,000 deaths in ADOC facilities sheds light on several issues, including widespread violence and drug abuse, often attributed to the failure of correctional officers to effectively maintain order.
The death of 22-year-old Daniel Williams, whose overdose was initially believed to be the cause, received the most media attention. But when they looked more closely, they saw that he had bruises that were consistent with being beaten in different ways. Williams, who was a new dad, was in jail for a year for theft. There have been no new developments in the review by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). According to jail records, the main suspect in the case is one inmate who has been accused of sexual assault more than once in different prisons. Two other inmates are also considered suspects. Also, these records show that the prisoner in question was never punished and was free to talk to other prisoners in an open-room area.
ADOC has been facing challenges due to limited staffing, which state officials believe has contributed to the harsh conditions within correctional facilities. It will still be several years before new mega-prisons, which will cost billions of dollars, are constructed. The current conditions are so severe that a presiding judge in Jefferson County even likened state prisons to those in third-world countries. Furthermore, the number of paroles granted by the state parole board has significantly decreased, exacerbating the issue of overcrowding. Critics argue that as inmates lose hope of being granted a second chance, the level of violence within these facilities has escalated.
If you remember, in December, a group of families spoke in Montgomery before a congressional oversight committee. They told horrifying stories about family members who were killed brutally and sexually assaulted while in jail. In his speech, Kevin Hyatt told the sad story of how his nephew was killed over a small drug bill. Another family friend talked about Adam Bond, an inmate who was attacked and got a traumatic brain injury. He was later found dead after being put back with the other inmates.