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Former ADOC nurse describes what she witnessed and her fear for incarcerated husband

Crystal Chapman has first-hand experience with Alabama prisons as a former nurse — now she’s afraid her husband may die there.

Bibb Correctional Facility Google Earth

Crystal Chapman has first-hand experience with the horrors of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) as a former nurse — and now she is afraid her incarcerated husband may die while serving a three-year sentence. 

“I’m afraid his three-year sentence will turn into a death sentence,” Chapman told APR. According to Chapman, her husband has lost over 50 pounds and has been assaulted twice while being incarcerated for over a year at the Bibb Correctional Facility.

Chapman said she has not seen her husband face to face while he has been incarcerated due to policies enacted related to COVID-19 restrictions despite many restrictions being rolled back over the past year. The reason for this policy still enduring is likely because of the money telecommunications companies can make from forcing families to use their costly phone and video services. 

According to a 2021 article from Truthout, telecom companies profited greatly from the pandemic including Securus Technologies which ADOC contracts with. In fact, Securus previously made it a contractual obligation for prisons to end or limit in-person visitation before vocal outrage ended that policy, according to Truthout.

Despite not seeing her husband this entire time Chapman speaks with him every night and one of her husband’s dorm mates let him take a picture of himself to show Chapman. Chapman said she would not have recognized him if it were not for his recognizable tattoos due to his drastic weight loss. 

Chapman also revealed that her husband was tricked into taking a plea deal after Patrick Brennan, an assistant district attorney in Baldwin County, said he could become a Habitual Felony Offender with only one other charge. Her husband was charged with attempted murder for an incident that Chapman explained was totally an accident and was because a gun misfired when he tried to rescue his former wife at the time from a car when he thought she was being held by a drug dealer. 

However, his ex-wife’s daughter was actually in the car, but he slipped and the gun misfired, slightly scraping his ex-wife. Chapman’s husband already had a previous felony but in order to end up as a Habitual Felony Offender he would have needed another prior felony. 

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Now Chapman is just hopeful that Alabama Appleseed can help her husband and potentially get him into a program that will keep him safe until he can home. 

Chapman’s experience at Holman

Chapman said she worked at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore from 2020-2021 and recalled it being the “physically most disgusting place I had ever seen.” But she added that after researching it seems that all ADOC facilities are the same. 

Chapman also revealed the medical neglect she witnessed many incarcerated individuals endure because of medical staff or guards disliking the individual or believing that they were not worthy of care. Chapman said she often tried to stand up for the incarcerated people but was threatened by guards and her fellow medical workers.

“And I was finally told by one of the lieutenants there, that I needed to hush because what they say went and if I didn’t like it, they would escort me off the property,” she said. “So there’s many times those inmates didn’t get the care they needed because nobody felt like bringing them to the medical office. And every day I would hear and you just do too much for them. You know, they’re just animals. Why do you do too much?”

Chapman also described hearing about and witnessing the “sadistic” acts the warden of Holman, Terry Raybon, would commit against the incarcerated.  She said she heard other nurses and incarcerated people discuss Raybon taking stray cats that incarcerated people would play with and care for out into the woods and had them shot. She also described another incident where incarcerated people grew watermelons and right before they were ripe enough Raybon came through and smash them all.

Raybon has a past of being violent, especially to women in his life. APR has previously reported on incidents of domestic violence Raybon was involved in back in 1998 and 1999. This led to Raybon being fired from his job as an Alabama State Trooper at the time. 

Raybon was hired by ADOC in 2000 just a year after being fired as a state trooper. In order to get hired with ADOC Raybon needed a letter of approval from the Department of Public Safety (DPS), however, no documentation was found indicating DPS’s approval.   

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Raybon has subsequently risen through the ranks leading to him becoming a Correctional Warden III in 2020. While working in ADOC Raybon has had one recorded incident where he, “initiated and engaged in a physical altercation,” with another officer. Raybon was suspended for five days due to the incident.

Chapman said that she quit her nursing job because of the threats against her and just how terrible it was.  From her experience, the only thing that changes the rot in the system is for it to be overhauled completely.

“The whole system needs to be brought down. From Jon Hamm all the way down the line. I don’t care.”

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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