By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, May 30, 2017, the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) announced that a task force investigation had led to the arrest of five prison employees at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore County for conspiracy to smuggle in contraband.
Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said in a statement, “After months of investigating this case, our corruption and fraud task force uncovered the bribery scheme involving correctional officers who are sworn to protect the public, but instead chose to use their position to illegally further their self-interest.”
The prison guard who have been arrested are: Ronald Dickerson 23 of Montgomery; Jarod McDowell, 29, of Wetumpka; Joshua Alexander, 26, of Hayneville; Patrick Jones, 42, of Montgomery; and Leonard Scott 31 of Montgomery were all arrested.
The Alabama Political Reporter (APR)spoke with 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacy Lee George (R) about the arrests. George is an Department of Corrections Officer at ADOC’s notorious St. Clair County facility.
George said that the bottom line is that the State does not have enough officers and that the officers that they do have need better pay, closer to what State Troopers make.
George said that to combat corruption that Corrections officers need better training and better benefits to recruit a higher quality of officer. George said that while St. Clair County and some north Alabama facilities have a good culture among the officers some of the south Alabama facilities, including apparently Staton, do not share that same culture. George said that in some of the prisons the Guards do not run the prisons, the inmates do and they get their gang affiliates and friends to take jobs as guards.
George said that the prisons need to send some of their older, well behaved prisoners home to cut down on overcrowding and then make sure that the young prisoners do hard labor so that they don’t want to return.
According to the investigation the officers accepted bribes ranging from home electronics, clothing, and automobile accessories; to a cruise. There are pending charges against the inmates involved as well.
ADOC created the corruption and fraud task force in 2016 to uncover and eradicate employee and inmate corruption in Alabama prisons and fully staffed the task force in February 2017.
In March 2016, APR released an in-depth investigative report into Alabama prison conditions including allegations of corruption, violence, and even murder.
Our reporting discovered evidence of a system of organized crime and corruption where guards supplied drugs, cell phones, and other contraband to prison gangs who then used those resources to increase their control inside correctional facilities and get rich by selling drugs and extorting money from the families of other inmates.
To read APR’s exclusive investigative report:
Stacy George is a former Morgan County Commissioner who is running for Governor in 2018 in the Republican Primary. George challenged incumbent Governor Robert Bentley (R) in the 2014 Republican Primary; but was defeated. Gov. Bentley stepped down in April after the Alabama Ethics Commission found evidence that Bentley may have committed felony ethics and campaign finance complaint. George and State Auditor Jim Zeigler filed the complaints to the Ethics Commission that led to their investigation.
Original reporting by the Alabama Media Group contributed to this report.