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Two more deaths in Alabama prisons

Trey Norwood, 28, was found unresponsive at Ventress on May 17. Earnest Charles McReynolds, 69, died on May 10 at Donaldson Correctional Facility.


Two men serving in Alabama prisons died in recent weeks, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed for APR, adding to the state’s growing number of deaths inside Alabama’s overpopulated understaffed prisons. 

Trey Norwood, 28, was found unresponsive by staff at Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton on May 17 and was pronounced dead. His exact cause of death is pending an autopsy, but foul play is not suspected, the Alabama Department of Corrections said in a message to APR

Earnest Charles McReynolds, 69, died on May 10 at William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility, the department said in the message. 

“While McReynolds’s exact cause of death is pending the results of a full autopsy, it appears that he passed away due to complications related to a terminal illness,” the message read. 

APR received a tip about the two deaths from other incarcerated people. The Alabama Department of Corrections doesn’t regularly release information on deaths inside state prisons unless a reporter learns of the death through other means and asks for confirmation. 

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 respond to the federal government’s concerns adequately, the suit could result in court-ordered federal oversight of Alabama’s prison system. 

Alabama’s prisons are overpopulated and understaffed, which is resulting in growing amounts of contraband and drugs, excessive violence and death, the federal government notes in the suit.

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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.



The deaths occurred between Tuesday and Sunday, with two incarcerated individuals dying on Thanksgiving.


On the same day that federal investigators visited Donaldson Correctional Facility, an incarcerated man died after being attacked.


Sargent was the 15th incarcerated individual to die in an Alabama correctional facility in the month of October.


It was at least the 15th confirmed death in Alabama's state prison system in October.