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Ala. lawmakers outraged at inmate sex abuse cited in DOJ report

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A federal report blasted the state of Alabama over how it runs its state prison system for women. The report from the U.S. Justice Department pointed to serious problems at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Excerpts from the report include:

"Several prisoners report that Officer B solicits and receives oral sex from prisoners in exchange for gifts and new uniforms and underwear.

More than one prisoner reported being sexually abused by Sergeant C in 2010 and 2011, including being forced to touch his penis and engaging in sex with him.

In late 2010, a prisoner reported Officer D had exchanged sexually explicit letters with her and ultimately engaged in sexual intercourse with her.

In May 2010, Officer E raped a prisoner. In 2011 the prisoner gave birth to a child, and subsequent testing confirmed Officer E was the father. Officer E served 180 days in jail."

Senator Cam Ward of Alabaster chairs the Joint Prison Oversight Committee. Ward is outraged at the report.

"It's a black eye on the state. The crimes listed in that report truly horrific," Ward said.

Ward said Prison Commissioner Kim Thomas is addressing the problems at Tutwiler but it won't be a quick fix. Ward said hiring additional female correctional officers will be a problem.

State Representative John Rogers of Birmingham is also a member of the Joint Prison Committee. Rogers does not believe the state can solve the problems.

"It's going to take the federal government to come in and take care of the prison because I think Alabama has turned their head to the thing," Rogers said.

Senator Ward plans to have the joint prison committee to hear from Commissioner Thomas about Tutwiler and what needs to be done to protect the women there.

A full copy of the report can be found online at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/documents/tutwiler_findings_1-17-14.pdf (Warning: Some of the content is graphic.)

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