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Another incarcerated person escapes work release as prison deaths rise

At least 170 incarcerated people have died this year in Alabama prison facilities.

St. Clair Correctional Facility near Springville, Alabama. Google Earth

An incarcerated person escaped a work release assignment in Gulf Shores on Wednesday as the death toll in Alabama Department of Corrections facilities continues to rise with more individuals dying over the last week.

Christopher Bates escaped Loxley Community Work Center at approximately 1o:30 a.m. Wednesday in Baldwin County. Police say that Bates discarded his prison clothing and escaped in only a white t-shirt and his underwear.

Police also believe Bates may have stolen a bike and has an accomplice assisting in his escape. Bates is serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted of first-degree robbery in 2015. The search for Bates is still on and police said they believe he was no longer in the Gulf Shores area and is potentially in the Mobile area.

Just last week APR reported on Pershon Pettway escaping from an ADOC facility. Pettway has since been recaptured. 

And according to ADOC’s Escapes page, another incarcerated individual escaped last Friday and remains free. Daniel Smallwood escaped from a job assignment in Elba, Alabama, in Coffee County, at approximately 1 a.m. on Sept. 8. Smallwood was sentenced in April to 4 years and 6 months for a third-degree robbery offense. 

Deaths Continue in ADOC Facilities

Aside from the multiple escapes that have occurred recently, the other way many incarcerated people have been leaving ADOC facilities is in body bags.

On Sept. 8, Moses Summerville died at Bullock Correctional Facility according to sources. Summerville’s cause of death is currently unknown but he was an older individual. Summerville had been incarcerated for over 40 years and was 72 years old.

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On Monday, a source told APR that Damion Dean died while incarcerated at St. Clair Correctional Facility. Dean is suspected of dying from a drug overdose, source said.

At least 170 individuals have died this year in ADOC facilities. That number, however, is likely an undercount and does not encompass many deaths that have occurred in July and August as it is based on ADOC’s latest quarterly report. In that report, deaths from January to June reached more than 164 individuals, but since that report, APR has reported on at least 6 more individuals who have died. 

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

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