Overcrowding is rampant, riots would be the next occurrence if this situation is not relieved soon. Shipping inmates to other states is NOT the answer. Correcting the situation within our own state by way of eliminating life without parole sentencing for non-violent offenders would go a long way toward ending the unconstitutional overcrowding situation in our prisons. To correct this error, Alabama House Bill 61 [formerly HB-34] needs to be passed.Update September 29, 2001: Alabama House Bill 61 was presented to the judiciary committee by Demetrius Newton on Thursday, August 29, 2001, at 9 a.m. in special session. On August 30, 2001, the bill passed the judiciary committee and was placed on the calendar for special session. Filibusters began to prevent Bill 61 from going further. The Association of County Commissions helped push the bill through the legislature on September 19, 2001 the last day of the special session. Governor Don Siegleman signed it into law on Saturday, September 29, 2001.Update January 6, 2002: As of this date, no prisoners have been released under HB-61.
The overcrowding situation in Alabama prisons remains the same as it was.
|Inmates (at right) crammed into cells at the Morgan County Jail, in Decatur, Alabama. A federal judge said in April, 2001, that "The sardine can appearance of its cell units more nearly resemble the holding units of slave ships during the middle passage of the eighteenth century than anything in the twenty-first century."|
|The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of any country. A calm, dispassionate recognition of the rights of the accused and even of the convicted criminal, ... [and] the treatment of crime and the criminal mark and measure the stored-up strength of a nation, and are the sign and proof of the living virtue within it. -- Winston Churchill|
Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama, is known as the "Boddom" which is Southern for bottom. Either way, it's as low as you can possibly go in this country. In response to your cheers, may I say that you have been successful. We are packed in like sardines: the Innocent - The Guilty - the Sick - the Lame - the Lazy - the Cripple - the Crazy - but all God's children. "If you have done it to the least of these..."
Holman Prison is made of open-filthy dorms - very crowded to say the least. The showers, commodes and lavatory are included within the open dorms.
None are vented. The humidity from the showers pours throughout these dorms. Any gases from the toilets pour out in these dorms. Humidity is always extremely high. Mold and mildew grows on the walls and ceiling. The floors are always damp. The heat index remains ungodly high in summer - cold and damp in winter. The place is crawling with cockroaches the size of your hand.
We can only send out bed linens to the laundry once a week. That, after perspiring on them all week long - a daily wetting of these linens. Over 100 men live in a dorm approximately 35 feet by 108 feet. That's an average of less than 35 square feet for each man - less if you deduct corridor spaces for walking from one place to another. Less still, if you deduct shower, commode and lavatory spaces within the dorms. Here is where each man spends his entire life, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year after year after year...the Innocent - The Guilty - the Sick - the Lame - the Lazy - the Cripple - the Crazy - but all God's children.