A man serving at Staton Correctional Facility died on Christmas Eve after being attacked by another prisoner, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed to APR on Monday.
Another man died the day after Christmas after being found unresponsive at Easterling Correctional Facility, the department confirmed.
Cody Brock, 30, died on Dec. 24 from injuries sustained during an inmate-on-inmate assault with a weapon, ADOC spokeswoman Kristi Simpson wrote in a response to APR.
Reeder Danley, 45, was found unresponsive by prison staff and was pronounced dead on Dec. 26, Simpson said.
“His exact cause of death is pending a full autopsy; however, foul play is not suspected at this time,” Simpson said.
A Dec. 17 report authored by investigative reporter Beth Shelburne for ACLU of Alabama Smart Justice noted that 2021 was a record year for preventable deaths inside Alabama’s prisons, with at least 37 incarcerated people dying from violence, suicide or suspected drug-related causes by that time. Brock’s and Danley’s deaths bring that figure to 39. In 2020 there were 25 such deaths, 27 in 2019 and 22 in 2018, Shelburne reported, bringing the total number of deaths from violence and drugs in a four-year period to at least 111.
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.