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Alabama prisons lack ice, and aren’t fixing raw sewage exposure, sources say

Incarcerated individuals in Alabama Department of Corrections facilities are being left without adequate access to ice and have been exposed to raw sewage.

Fountain Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama.
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Incarcerated individuals in Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) facilities are being left without adequate access to ice and have been exposed to raw sewage, according to several sources.

The Fountain Correctional Facility and the Staton Facility have both been named as prisons that are either lacking functioning ice machines or just not providing enough to the population. APR previously asked ADOC on July 3 about complaints about the ice machines and also a lack of water fountains.

“The ADOC is committed to providing adequate resources for its inmate population, especially during periods of extreme heat and cold,” the ADOC responded.

However, sources enduring the conditions say that is false. Alabama is one of at least a dozen states that lacks universal air conditioning in all of its prisons. And this has dangerous implications not only for the summer but also for the winter months because of the cold temperatures.

The lack of ice and temperature regulation could constitute an Eighth Amendment violation due to the extreme heat and lack of remedial measures incarcerated people have.

In Valigura v. Mendoza (2008), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found just that, stating in their decision: “We have held that temperatures consistently in the nineties without remedial measures, such as fans, ice water, and showers, sufficiently increase the probability of death and serious illness so as to violate the Eighth Amendment.”

The sewage exposure has only been reported out of Fountain but was documented on TikTok as early as June 26. APR spoke with a source Tuesday who said the sewage issue still was not fixed and was occurring in the segregation area. This means that incarcerated individuals have likely been exposed to potentially dangerous contaminants for over three weeks.

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One individual previously was diagnosed with meningitis but is unsure of the cause. According to a report on E.coli survivability, it is likely that someone can catch meningitis if exposed to wastewater: “Collectively, these findings suggest that E. coli strains that may cause septicemia and meningitis are surviving wastewater treatment and may be transmissible through wastewater effluents.”

APR has reached out to ADOC for comment on the raw sewage situation.

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

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