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Alabama correctional officer stabbed by incarcerated man

Alabama and the Alabama Department of Corrections are being sued by the DOJ over violence inside the state’s prisons for men.

Fountain Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama.

A correctional officer at Fountain Correctional Facility in Atmore was stabbed Monday by an incarcerated man, and suffered a non-life-threatening injury, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed for APR

Trenton White, 29, of Calhoun County, assaulted the officer from behind with a makeshift weapon, ADOC spokeswoman Kristi Simpson said in a message. The officer was treated for the injury at a local hospital and was released. 

“The Alabama Department of Corrections condemns all violence in its facilities, and the unacceptable actions taken by this inmate against an ADOC staff member are being thoroughly investigated by the ADOC’s Law Enforcement Services Division (LESD),” Simpson wrote. “As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot provide additional details at this time. However, this inmate will be held to account for this assault and, upon the conclusion of the investigation, LESD will present its findings to the local prosecuting authority for consideration of a charge of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.”

Monday’s assault at Fountain prison follows the death of Tyrone Billups, 39, who died July 12 after being assaulted by another incarcerated man at the prison. 

Alabama and ADOC are being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for what the federal government alleges is the state’s inability to control contraband, physical and sexual violence and death inside the state’s prisons for men. 

DOJ reports released in April and July of 2019 detail systemic use of excessive force within Alabama’s prisons, and that Alabama’s prisons for men were likely violating inmates’ constitutional protections from sexual abuse and physical harm. 

The federal government notes in the complaint that inadequate staffing is driving the violence, and that a recent court order shows that fewer than half of ADOC’s staff positions are filled. 

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“As of the third quarter of 2020, ADOC had filled 1,322 of 3,326 positions for correctional officers,” the lawsuit reads. “The overall number of supervisors has decreased. Seven of Alabama’s Prisons for Men have total staff vacancy rates in excess of 50 percent and all have at least 25 percent of staff positions vacant.”

At least 10 incarcerated men in Alabama have died this month in assaults from other prisoners and from what appear to be possible drug overdoses, but those deaths remain under investigation.

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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