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“A moral and legal disaster:” SPLC throws support behind prison strike

The SPLC said the strike “demonstrates the understandable frustration of those incarcerated and their desire to be heard.”

The logo of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Southern Poverty Law Center affirmed its support for incarcerated individuals currently on strike and protest at five of the 14 major facilitates in the state in a statement released on Wednesday.

Alabama policy director for the SPLC, Jerome Dees, said in the statement on Wednesday that until officials within the Alabama Department of Corrections begin addressing longstanding issues within the prison system, the “dangerous conditions” will continue.

“No one should be surprised by the actions of Alabama citizens who are incarcerated,” Dees said. “The state’s prison system has been a moral and legal disaster for years. Alabama prisons are cruel, dangerous, and violent, as shown by accounts from incarcerated people, letters from their loved ones, and the DOJ’s own investigations. People are dying in the system right now because Alabama is willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus money to build mega-prisons but won’t prioritize parole, early release of nonviolent offenders, and other reforms that could make this situation better.”

In addition, Dees said that the strike “demonstrates the understandable frustration of those incarcerated and their desire to be heard.”

Last month, incarcerated workers began the strike and peaceful at all major facilities in the state, demanding the repeal of legislation like the Habitual Felony Offender Act and reform of the state’s parole system, among other demands. The letter of demands delivered to the ADOC by outside organizers urges the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene in what the organizers describe as a “humanitarian crisis” within the Alabama prison system.

An ongoing lawsuit between the state of Alabama, the ADOC, and the Justice Department alleges that Alabama officials are “deliberately indifferent” to the “unconstitutional conditions” prevalent throughout the prison system in the state.

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

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