Tag Archive: Alabama

Women in Solitary Confinement: Sent to Solitary for Reporting Sexual Assault

Women who report being sexually assaulted by prison staff face abuse and isolation.

Women who report being sexually assaulted by prison staff face abuse and isolation.

From Solitary Watch

By Vikki Law

It seems absurd that a person who has been sexually assaulted would be punished for speaking up, especially since prison policy prohibits sexual contact between staff and the people whom they guard. Yet, in many women’s prisons, those who report rape and other forms of sexual assault by prison personnel are often sent to solitary confinement.

After enduring over a year of repeated sexual assaults by a guard, Stacy Barker became one of 31 women incarcerated in Michigan who filed Nunn v MDOC, a 1996 lawsuit against the Department of Corrections for the widespread sexual abuse by prison guards. The following year, Barker was repeatedly sexually assaulted by an officer, who was also a defendant in Nunn. After a month of silence, she reported the assaults to a prison psychiatrist. Barker was immediately placed in segregation and then transferred to Huron Valley Center, which was then a psychiatric hospital for prisoners. There, she reported that hospital attendants verbally harassed her.

In October 1997, Barker attempted suicide. Barker did not receive counseling or psychiatric evaluation. Instead, three male guards stripped her naked, placed her in five-point restraints (a procedure in which a prisoner is placed on her back in a spread-eagle position with her hands, feet and chest secured by straps) on a bed with no blanket for nine hours. She was then placed on suicide watch. She reported that one of the staff who monitored her repeatedly told her he would “bring her down a few rungs.” (more…)

Letter-Writing Campaign to Free Political Prisoner Sekou Kambui #FreeSekou

sekouFrom Denver Anarchist Black Cross

Sekou Cinque T. M. Kambui (S/N William J. Turk) has requested a letter-writing campaign asserting his innocence in preparation for his upcoming parole hearing, which could be held as early as February of 2014.
Sekou maintains that he has committed no crime, and yet has been under the heel of the State since 1975, when he was accused of murdering a wealthy white oil-man and a KKK member in Alabama. He was pulled over in January of 1975 and accused of and arrested for the December ’74 murder after a 9mm pistol was found in his car. Multiple witnesses in his first trial later reported that they had been coerced into testifying against Sekou, after which every defense witness was driven out of the state by police intimidation. No proven murder weapon has been found, and neither Sekou nor the pistol found in his car has never been linked to the crime scene.
As a member of the Black Panther Party and organizer with a variety of organizations, including SNCC and the Republic of New Afrika, Sekou was caught up in the COINTELPRO dragnet in the State’s effort suppress dissent
and make activism criminal. He must be freed! (more…)

Female inmates’ move to Alabama prison delayed

Aliceville

Concerns raised over contact with children

From Montgomery Advertiser

WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Prisons has delayed moving inmates from Connecticut to the new women’s prison in west Alabama after several U.S. senators from the Northeast objected.

The delay means the Aliceville facility is well below capacity and is part of an emerging political debate over how far from their families female inmates should be forced to live.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., has questioned the wisdom of moving 1,100 female inmates from a prison in Danbury to rural Pickens County.

“This transfer would nearly eliminate federal prison beds for women in the northeastern United States and dramatically disrupt the lives of these female inmates and the young children they often leave behind,” Murphy said in a recent statement announcing the delay. (more…)

Native-American inmates in Alabama continue fight over prison system’s rule against having long hair

Doug Dark Horns Bailey talks about trying to practice his religious beliefs during the more than 18 years he spent in prison.

Doug Dark Horns Bailey talks about trying to practice his religious beliefs during the more than 18 years he spent in prison.

11th Circuit ruling sided with Ala. Corrections Department

From Montgomery Advertiser

Doug Dark Horns Bailey held the silver-and-brown strands of his hair, gathered in two tails running down his back. This, he said, was sacred.

“Long before science ever heard of DNA, our ancestors knew our essence was contained in our hair,” said Bailey, an artist and Creek Indian who lives in Wetumpka. “Long, long before they ever started using DNA, we believed our essence was in our hair. That’s why we don’t cut it.”

While serving an 18-year sentence for robbery in the Alabama prison system, Bailey reconnected with his faith, and said it was key to helping him reform his ways and stay out of legal trouble.

“I just felt reconnected again,” he said. “I felt like myself again. I felt like a real individual, and not some lost, castaway soul.”

Bailey, released in 2004, is a plaintiff in a long-running suit brought by Native-American inmates against the Alabama Department of Corrections over religious rights. The suit, which dates back to 1993, has opened the door for some practices for inmates. However, DOC policies require all male inmates to keep hair cut short, and that remains a point of contention. (more…)

Severe Physical and Sexual Abuse by Guards at Three Alabama Prisons

adocFrom Equal Justice Initiative

EJI has filed a complaint that documents severe physical and sexual abuse and violence perpetrated by several correctional officers and officials in three Alabama prisons for men. EJI has made allegations to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) of widespread physical abuse and misconduct at the Elmore Correctional Facility in Elmore, Alabama. EJI reports that in the last six months there have been nearly a dozen instances where prisoners at Elmore have been handcuffed, stripped naked, and then beaten by several guards. EJI also has uncovered evidence that male officers sexually abused male prisoners at Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Alabama, and Bibb Correctional Facility in Brent, Alabama. EJI is now asking ADOC to investigate and protect prisoners from physical and sexual violence by prison employees at these facilities.

At Elmore Correctional Facility, EJI reports that a group of officers have been taking inmates into isolated areas of the prison where they are handcuffed and stripped naked and then severely beaten. Several inmates have been so severely beaten that they have required hospitalization and suffered permanent injuries. EJI’s complaint implicates the warden and other high-ranking prison officials in some of the beatings and misconduct. A complaint about problems at Elmore has been made with ADOC officials and law enforcement agencies.

At Donaldson and Bibb correctional facilities, EJI reports that male correctional officers forced young male inmates to perform sex acts and threatened to file disciplinary charges against them if they refused or reported the abuse. In several cases, incarcerated prisoners were forced to perform oral sex and were subjected to other forms of sexual abuse by correctional staff. Biological evidence supporting the sexual assault allegations has been turned over to ADOC authorities. (more…)

As economy flails, debtors’ prisons thrive

debtFrom Corporate Media

Thousands of Americans are sent to jail not for committing a crime, but because they can’t afford to pay for traffic tickets, medical bills and court fees.

If that sounds like a debtors’ prison, a legal relic which was abolished in this country in the 1830s, that’s because it is. And courts and judges in states across the land are violating the Constitution by incarcerating people for being unable to pay such debts.

Ask Jack Dawley, 55, an unemployed man in Ohio who between 2007 and 2012 spent a total of 16 days in jail in a Huron County lock-up for failing to pay roughly $1,500 in legal fines he’d incurred in the 1990s. The fines stemmed from Dawley’s convictions for driving under the influence and other offenses. After his release from a Wisconsin correctional facility, Dawley, who admits he had struggled with drugs and alcohol, got clean. But if he put his substance problems behind him, Dawley’s couldn’t outrun his debts. (more…)

‘Frequent and severe’ sexual violence alleged at women’s prison in Alabama

By Elizabeth Chuck, msnbc.com

Sexual misconduct by male correctional staff toward inmates at Alabama’s Tutwiler Prison for Women is “commonplace” and has resulted in numerous women becoming pregnant while incarcerated, a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice alleges.

Equal Justice Initiative, a private nonprofit organization, filed the complaint about the all-female prison in Wetumpka, Ala., Tuesday after receiving dozens of claims of sexual misconduct involving male staff between 2004 and 2011.

In interviews with more than 50 women incarcerated at the prison, EJI said it discovered “frequent and severe officer-on-inmate sexual violence,” ranging from women being coerced into performing sexual favors in exchange for contraband goods to rape by a male correctional staff member while another male officer served as a lookout. (more…)

The State As “Collective Slavemaster:” Criminalizing Black People After Emancipation

From Prison Culture

As I begin to think about pulling together an exhibition about confinement and captivity in black life, I am re-reading several books and articles about slavery and emancipation.

In Alabama, even before the Civil War, prisoners were responsible for their own court and incarceration costs at the county level. After the Civil War, this continued with one day in prison costing thirty cents. If prisoners could not pay, they served extra time and labored to pay the fees. While Alabama state prisoners had always worked, the state had never made a profit off their labor. This changed in 1875 when the state began to lease out prisoners for their labor to coal mines and to railroad companies. This money was essential to Alabama as the state was broke in the 1870s and prisoner labor helped to fill its coffers.

Alabama like many other Southern states desperately needed laborers for the lease system to work and they used the criminal code as a tool of racial discrimination. One cannot understand the racial subordination of black people post Emancipation without also exploring its links to the need in the south for a cheap and stable labor supply. Adolph Reed (1996) has described the state post-Emancipation as a “collective slavemaster.” This is an important insight that underscores the link between slavery and the continued criminalization of black bodies. (more…)

Ex Libris: a film about the Internationalist Prison Books Collective

One of our collective members made this 10 minute documentary on our group and we wanted to share it with all of y’all. Enjoy!

From the Description:

Ex Libris is a Latin phrase meaning “from the library of…” It is intended to be followed by someone’s name or the name of the library to which the book belongs. But standing alone, “Ex Libris” expresses the potential for literature to be nomadic, to shift between owners and for the Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective, the physical exchange of books between those both inside and outside prison walls also means the sharing of a greater vision.

The people you will see featured are some of the group’s core and equal members who are supported by a rotating door of volunteers.

The Collective formed five years ago to send books to prisoners in Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina. This piece is a small sketch of what the Collective does and how it operates. It does not and cannot unfold the story of the prison industrial complex although the collective’s work is an effort against the PIC. For that reason, this video focuses on what these volunteers do and how much work is put into the project. The reasons why they do it are for you to research and explore.