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Alabama Department of Corrections investigating inmate death

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A 38-year-old man serving at Donaldson Correctional Facility died last week, but the cause was unclear Monday. 

The Alabama Department of Corrections in a statement to APR on Monday said the department was investigating the events that led up to the death of Darnell McMillian of Mobile County, but the department declined to answer APR’s questions on whether there is a correctional officer-related use-of-force investigation or an inmate-on-inmate assault investigation underway in his death. 

The exact cause of McMillian’s death is pending an autopsy, according to the department’s statement. 

There have been at least five inmate homicides in Alabama this year, four possible overdose deaths and five likely suicides, according to the ACLU of Alabama’s records. ADOC doesn’t typically release information on an inmate’s death unless journalists discover the death by other means and provide the name of the inmate to the department in a request for information. 

During 2019, there were at least 8 suicides, 14 homicides, including two men who died after being beaten by correctional officers, and five possible overdose deaths. 

The U.S. Justice Department in April 2019, released a report highlighting what the department described as systemic problems of violence, sexual assaults, drugs and homicides in Alabama’s overpopulated, understaffed prisons. 

The Justice Department continues to negotiate with the state to prevent the possibility of a federal lawsuit over what the department says is a potential violation of the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment and its prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

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Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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