MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Corrections commissioner said Monday the department is taking steps to reduce the violence in Alabama prisons in the wake of several inmate deaths.
“My department is taking swift and substantive action to create safer working and living conditions, better ensure policy adherence, and deter unacceptable behavior by both inmates and ADOC staff,” said ADOC Commissioner Dunn in a news release Monday.
The department announced Monday the deaths of two inmates in separate incidents. They also announced the mandatory leave of two correctional officers who are under investigation who allegedly were involved in one of those deaths.
Commissioner Dunn has created a task force to investigate inmate-on-inmate violence and excessive use of force by staff. The department will also implement a plan to send professional development instructors to teach a refreshment course in the prisons to the correctional officers.
The group Alabamians for Fair Justice responds to the announced deaths Tuesday morning. The group has advocated for prison reform for several months.
“While we are saddened and angry by the death of Michael, it is also unconscionable that corrections officers would be involved in the deaths of two incarcerated people within three months,” the coalition said in a press release. “This is at a time when the U.S. Department of Justice and a federal judge has already declared Alabama’s prisons unconstitutionally unsafe.”
The group has given state lawmakers policy recommendations. They urge them to use “bold” and “holistic” responses.
The Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy has met for several months to discuss policy recommendations. Legislation addressing the problems is expected in the 2020 legislative session.