As a national prison strike enters its second month, the Department of Justice says it will investigate conditions in Alabama prisons. And some corrections officers are expressing support.
The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into prison conditions in Alabama, weeks after inmates there joined a nationwide prisoner strike in protest of forced labor and living conditions.
“The investigation will focus on whether prisoners are adequately protected from physical harm and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners; whether prisoners are adequately protected from use of excessive force and staff sexual abuse by correctional officers; and whether the prisons provide sanitary, secure and safe living conditions,” the DOJ said in a statement.
The department declined to comment on what prompted the state-wide probe. But Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, a leader of the Free Alabama Movement, an advocacy group that helped support the strike, credited the actions of prisoners and corrections officers of Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama.
“I do believe the prison strike that was initiated led and organized by those on the inside of Holman prison is the reason for the DOJ launching the investigation,” he said. “And I think when they saw that even the officers admitted that the administration was allowing a hostile environment to be created, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
As the prisoner strike continued in late September, corrections officers at Holman prison did not show up to scheduled work shifts and spoke out about dangerous conditions. And in Michigan, unionized corrections officers have expressed sympathy for the prisoners’ cause. Continue reading