Welcome to Alabama!
It’s election time, so here come the folks to scare you into believing that the Department of Corrections [DOC] needs more money or they will be forced to let all those violent, criminally insane prisoners loose in your community!
Every election year the DOC needs more money. Why? The answer is subtle, yet simple. Prisons have been built in poor predominately black counties. Usually it is the largest industry in the county and the wardens of those prisons are very powerful and influential figures in the county. If a political figure, i.e., the governor, can get money into the hands of the wardens they in turn can get it into the hands of local powers who can get them votes. Could that be why they want to build more prisons in every county?
To convince you of the need for more DOC funding the Pardons and Parole Board begins denying parole to nearly everyone. Some inmates that have been on Work Release for a year or two are being denied and set off for up to five years. Since they are no longer within the three years of their release date they are returned to a major institution, which causes overcrowding. Inmates that have been in prison for over twenty years, taken every rehabilitation program the DOC claims works, are being refused parole and set off five years. All of this is intentional to cause overcrowding, which is then used as a political tool for more money, endangering the lives of prison employees, inmates and the surrounding communities. Who controls the Parole Board? Who could cause it to render these decisions? THE GOVERNOR!
The parole laws are written in such ambiguous language that all concerned can dodge blame when the riots do break out and people are injured or killed. The present laws place total discretion with the Parole Board Members…if they are of the opinion an inmate can remain at liberty without violating the law they should release them. What minds and foresight these people must have. With this as their only criteria it is little wonder the recidivism rate is 85% in Alabama. No reasons for denying parole are required. Before any funds are allotted to the DOC or Pardons and Parole Board the parole laws need to be changed so prisoners will not be used as political pawns. Prisoners though they are, they are still someone’s father, brother, son, sister, etc. And, they are Alabamians!
Now that the Parole Board has sufficiently crowded the prisons, some officials are appearing on TV and promising a severe riot this summer. How can they promise this unless the stage has already been set?
Consider one prison, the one I am assigned to, Easterling Correctional Facility [ECF], Clio, Al. Designed for 650 inmates it now houses more than 1,200. Prisoners are housed in metal warehouse type dormitories with double bunk beds placed 15-20 inches apart. The warden is Gwendolyn Mosley, a black female with many years as a state employee. Since Warden Mosley has taken over the prison there have been two major riots in which the riot teams had to be brought in to quell the violence.
Warden Mosley runs “her camp” on the principle of “taking.” Take everything the inmates have. She has removed many items from the Prison Canteen, banned outdoor exercise, established ECF as a lock-down camp, severely limited time in the Law Library, and more items too numerous to mention. To add to the stress tobacco products have been banned. Non-smokers can appreciate this rule but for those that have smoked for 35-40 years to suddenly have their tobacco taken away is physical and mental torture. Warden Mosley’s reasoning is that tobacco is a narcotic drug in spite of the FDA ruling to the contrary.
Many officers have quit or transferred because of the stress created by Warden Mosley. The ones that remain do their best to get through the day without incident. Inmates are locked in the dorm, 130 per dorm average (designed for 60), for up to 22-23 hours per day. The guards do not stay in the dorms – they leave, lock the doors and turn out the lights. Lights are only turned on to signal chow-call or count time. ECF is a camp that is short on officers – one gun tower, one armed rover and a camp packed full of murderers, rapists, robbers, child molesters, etc.
A full-scale riot has been promised this summer if they do not get the money they want. It is either “you come up with the money, or…?”
Out of a fondness I have developed for my life and physical well being, my name is withheld. My identity is not important and should not matter – everything stated herein can be verified.
Citizen of and “guest” in Alabama Prison