Under existing law, the Alabama Department of Corrections is required to report quarterly to the Joint Legislative Prison Oversight Committee.
But Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, said that isn’t enough accountability for the department.
“Any organization, any government agency that 266 people died in their custody over the course of the year 2022, should have to report monthly,” England said. “There is no way that an agency that has as many problems and issues as ADOC has needs to be less transparent. if we’ve got to change the standard to make them do the bare minimum, I guess that’s what we need to do.”
The bill is straightforward, simply changing the word “quarterly” to “monthly” to affect the change. No other language is altered.
The existing law details what information is required in the reports. It includes a report “containing statistical data on the number, manner, and cause of inmate deaths occurring in a correctional facility, including the results of any autopsy provided to the department by a third party.”
It also requires the department to report on all occurrences of sexual abuse or victimization of inmates, and a report on contraband in the prisons including cell phones, weapons and controlled substances recovered within a facility.
The department remains under a federal lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice due to the poor conditions inside Alabama prisons.
The investigation found that “Alabama fails to provide adequate protection from prisoner-on-prisoner violence and prisoner-on-prisoner sexual abuse, fails to provide safe and sanitary conditions, and subjects prisoners to excessive force at the hands of prison staff.”