Alabama prison riot: more to come?

Posted on March 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

AlabamaGov. Robert Bentley visited Holman prison in southwest Alabama March 15—in the wake of a bloody uprising at the facility. Inmates stabbed the warden and a guard when the trouble began four days earlier, then seized control of a dorm for several hours the day before the governor's visit. A Correctional Emergency Response Team was sent in to restore control. Both the warden and guard survived, but the facility remains on lockdown, with visitation rights suspended. Bentley pledged to address problems of overcrowding at the state's prisons during his visit, reported local WHNT.

A list of demands issued by the Holman inmates includes "immediate federal assistance," the release of all inmates "who have spent excessive time in Holman Prison" in light of harsh conditions there, and repeal of the Habitual Felony Offender laws—Alabama's equivalent of the "three strikes" statutes that impose mandatory minimum sentences upon a third conviction. The statement also called for education programs "that will prepare inmates to be released back into society with 21st century," and "monetary damages for mental pain and physical abuse that inmates have already suffered."

Indeed, many prisons across the state look like they could be just waiting to follow Holman into rebellion. interviewed prisoners at facilities statewide who warned of similar tensions. "It's a can of gas and all it needs is one match," one inmate said from a contraband cell phone in a high security prison. "There's more to come," another inmate said. "Donaldson [prison] is close. St. Clair is close. All it would take is one really good mistake by somebody in blue or somebody in white and this place will blow up."

It was just a little over a year ago that the state prison at Raymondville two states over in Texas exploded into violent revolt.

Cross-post to High Times

Image from Greenwhich Mean Time  

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