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Man at Donaldson prison becomes 2nd Alabama prison homicide in five days

There have been at least 10 homicides, and 22 drug deaths and suicides, in Alabama prisons this year.

William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Jefferson County. (VIA GOOGLE EARTH)

A man serving at William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility died Monday after an apparent attack by another prisoner with a weapon, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed to APR on Tuesday. 

Kenneth Gilchrist died after the attack, which is being investigated by the department’s Law Enforcement Services Division, ADOC spokeswoman Krist Simpson said in a response to APR

“His exact cause of death is pending the results of a full autopsy,” Simpson said. 

Gilchrist was pronounced dead at 9:08 a.m. after being attacked in the common area of the prison, Jefferson County chief deputy coroner Bill Yates said in a message. 

Gilchrist’s death is at least the second homicide in Alabama prisons in the last five days, and at least the 10th this year. Travis Hutchins, 34, died Thursday after being attacked by another incarcerated man with a weapon, ADOC previously confirmed to APR. At least 10 men died in Alabama prisons during July alone. There have been at least 22 deaths as a result of drugs and suicides in Alabama prisons this year. 

ADOC doesn’t typically announce the death of an incarcerated person. News of those deaths become public when a reporter learns of a death and gets confirmation from ADOC. 

The U.S. Department of Justice in the federal government’s lawsuit alleged unconstitutional treatment of incarcerated men, including a lack of basic health care and mental health care in understaffed and deadly facilities, and the inability to protect the incarcerated from sexual, physical violence and death. 

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In previously released reports, the Justice Department detailed systemic problems in Alabama’s prison for men of abuse from guards, corruption and cover-ups, rampant drug use, violence, overcrowding, and contraband often brought in by correctional officers.

Written By

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



ADOC said that the final cause of death is pending the results of a full autopsy.


Donaldson is 149.7 percent over capacity, housing 1,449 incarcerated individuals in a facility designed to hold 968.


This is at least the third death in Bibb Correctional Facility in the last two months.


William Thierry, 46, was found unresponsive in his cell on Thursday by correctional staff.