Protests at state capitol calling for prison reform in Alabama

Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 6:06 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2022 at 6:07 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Protesters returned to the state capitol Friday to show support for inmates still on strike inside Alabama’s prisons. They want to call out the state for the dilapidated conditions inside state facilities and the low percentage of parolees.

Protestors had the opportunity to tell their stories. Protestor Sandy Ray told the story of her son, Steven Davis. October marks the third year since his death. He was an inmate in Donaldson Correctional Facility who was beaten to death by two correctional officers.

“I feel every time another mother calls me,” said Ray.

“We have a lot of innocent people that are in there that we’re trying to get out,” said Yogie Gidley with T.O.P.S.

Organizers say wrongful convictions are just the surface of the problem. Since the inmate worker stoppage began on Sept. 26, organizer Cookie Garner says inmate’s food quality and medical care have declined.

“Our incarcerated loved ones, that need colostomy bags that they’re not getting,” said Garner

According to the Alabama Department of Corrections, there are “two male facilities where complete work stoppage continues. Three other facilities have partial work stoppages. Those three are starting to return to normal operations.”

Protestors say normal operations are the problem. In recent years, the number of inmates granted parole has declined significantly, and protestors believe the system needs to change so more eligible inmates are granted parole.

“While he did not have an active part in his crime,” said Garner. “It was read out loud in his parole hearing and yet the parole board denied my son.”

Organizers say if officials won’t listen; “Kay Ivey must go.”

Ray says Alabamians need to vote so they can get help for other inmates like her son.

“Change has to be done y’all,” said Ray.

Organizers plan to hold the next rally in January when lawmakers return for their organizational session.

ADOC canceled visitation this weekend at all five facilities due to “the impact on staff resources” until normal operations can be restored.

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