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Alabama man serving at Donaldson prison dies

Brian Sullivan was being treated for an advanced, terminal illness, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed.

William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Jefferson County. Google Earth

A man serving at Donaldson Correctional Facility died on Oct. 26, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed. 

Brian Sullivan, 50, died in the prison’s infirmary, ADOC spokeswoman Kristi Simpson said in a message to APR. He was being treated for an advanced, terminal illness, and the exact cause of his death is pending a full autopsy, she said. 

“A postmortem examination will be performed to determine the cause and manner of death but, at this time the death is believed to be of natural causes,” Bill Yates, chief deputy coroner with the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office said in a press release. 

ADOC doesn’t release the names of incarcerated people who die in prison unless a reporter discovers the death through other means and asks the department to verify and provide more information. 

Gov. Kay Ivey in May signed into law a bill introduced by state Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, that will require ADOC o report quarterly to a legislative oversight committee with information on violent offenses occurring in prisons, staffing numbers and state money paid toward lawsuits against the department.

ADOC has been criticized by some lawmakers and the U.S. Department of Justice over a lack of transparency, among other issues. In an amended complaint filed in May, the DOJ stated ADOC fails to accurately report homicides and serious assaults. 

ADOC has also underreported instances of homicides inside state prisons, misclassifying some and simply not reporting others at all, the DOJ notes in the lawsuit.

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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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