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Alabama prison strike enters third week

Work stoppages are declining but five of 14 major correctional facilities still remain on general strike.

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The general strike and protest among the state’s incarcerated population continue into its third week, with five major facilities still experiencing work stoppages while the majority have returned to normal operations, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Multiple sources within the Alabama correctional system confirmed to APR on Monday that five facilities where major work stoppages still remain are St. Clair, Staton, Donaldson, Fountain, and Bibb correctional facilities. The Alabama Department of Corrections has yet to confirm these as being the facilitates still on strike.

In a statement released on Friday, the ADOC confirmed that work stoppages were declining system-wide, with only five of 14 major correctional facilities still remaining on general strike. This is the same number of facilities confirmed to be on strike as the previous week, suggesting that they are the same facilities.

“The overall situation with inmate work stoppages at the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) is improving across the state,” a spokesperson for the ADOC said on Friday. “All female facilities continue to experience normal operations and most male facilities are returning to normal operations, including regular meal service and weekend visitation.”

This weekend, visitations were canceled at the five correctional facilities remaining on strike due to “the impact on staff resources,” according to the ADOC.

According to the most recent statistics from July provided by the ADOC, nearly 7,000 incarcerated individuals populate each of the facilities remaining on strike.

A source within the Alabama correctional system said that individuals brought from other facilities and from protective custody are being brought in to work at the facilities still on strike.

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“Those that are brought in do so under threats,” according to the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

The ADOC has previously used individuals from work-release centers to produce meals for incarcerated individuals on strike and protest, with one individual stating that he was threatened with re-classification back to a higher security facility if he refused to go.

During the first week of the strike, a group of incarcerated individuals with medical conditions requiring consistent meals filed an emergency Motion to Intervene in the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing lawsuit against the ADOC and the state.

The motion argues that the “systematic and purposeful reduction in the quantity and quality” of their meals, which have been reduced from thrice daily to twice a day during the strike, offers more evidence of unconstitutional and inhumane treatment from the ADOC.

Plaintiffs offered an amended motion on Friday, with more incarcerated individuals joining in the motion, each of whom argues that conditions within correctional facilities statewide “have worsened markedly” since the original filling of the DOJ’s lawsuit.

“It is Plaintiff-Intervenors’ reasonable belief that this worsening of conditions has escalated due to the retaliatory tactics of Alabama prison staff in response to an inmate labor strike,” plaintiffs argue in the motion filed on Friday. “Plaintiff-Intervenors seek a preliminary injunction by this Court to thwart the immediate and irreversible threat to their health and safety that recently enacted ADOC policies present.”

Since the beginning of the strike and peaceful protest, which began in late September, the ADOC has confirmed at-least nine individuals have died in its facilities, with three men dying in a single day on Oct. 6. Of those nine individuals, four died at Donaldson Correctional Facility, with two of those deaths believed to be homicides.

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The DOJ’s lawsuit draws a direct link between the lack of sufficient staffing at all major correctional facilities and the increasing number of violent deaths and instances of inmate-on-inmate assaults occurring within the Alabama prison system.

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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