Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Former Alabama correctional officer gets more than seven years in prison on drug charges

Gary Charles Dixon, Jr. pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle methamphetamine into the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility.

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

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a former Alabama Department of Corrections Officer to just more than seven years in prison after attempting to smuggle 497 grams of methamphetamine into the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer. 

U.S. District Court Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced Gary Charles Dixon, Jr., 36, to 87 months in prison on one count of distribution of fifty grams or more of methamphetamine. 

Dixon was arrested on Nov. 15, 2020, and pleaded guilty to the charge on July 20, according to court records. 

“Smuggling contraband into our state prisons compromises the safety of everyone in the facility,” said U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona in a statement. “This type of conduct, especially by those sworn to protect the institution, will not be tolerated. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute corrections officers who violate positions of public trust.”

Numerous instances of incarcerated men dying in Alabama prisons over the summer appear to be possible drug overdoses. A least 10 men died in state prisons during the month of July. 

The Alabama Department of Corrections in March 2020, halted regular visitations to Alabama prisons due to COVID-19, and the department hasn’t yet determined when those visitations will resume, yet drug overdoses and deaths connected to drugs have continued, as have the arrest of officers charged with bringing drugs into prisons. 

Correctional officer Jeffery Jackson at Donaldson prison was arrested on Sept. 19 and charged with possession of marijuana, promoting prison contraband and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, according to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office records. Jackson was released that dame day. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

ADOC sergeant William Patrick was arrested on Sept. 4 and charged with possession of marijuana, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, promoting prison contraband and use of official office for personal gain, according to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office records. Patrick was released that same day. 

The U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing lawsuit against the state alleges Alabama fails to protect prisoners from violence, death, unsafe and unsanitary conditions, and if the state fails to adequately respond to the federal government’s concerns, the suit could result in court-ordered federal oversight of Alabama’s prison system. 

The DOJ’s complaint also states that ADOC hasn’t been able to control contraband, which is resulting in mounting overdose deaths, despite no visits by outsiders being allowed in prisons amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Although ADOC has not allowed visitors into Alabama’s Prisons for Men since March 2020 pursuant to COVID-19 restrictions, prisoners continue to have easy access to drugs and other illegal contraband,” the complaint reads.

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

More from the Alabama Political Reporter


The bill ostensibly tightens an already narrow window for incarcerated individuals serving in historically overcrowded prisons.


Opponents raised concerns about overcrowding and losing one of the few incentives for good behavior within the prisons.


Eight incarcerated individuals have been confirmed dead in state custody so far this month.


Incarcerated individuals who die prior to their hearing date are "typically" removed from the parole hearing docket.


In a contract signed last year, the expected cost to build the new 4,000-bed prison in Elmore County was $623 million.


No further information was given as to the circumstances surrounding the death.


Staton returned to normal operations last week after being placed on quarantine since the end of November.


Two other incarcerated men were reported dead on the same day.