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admin | Category: Virtual Phone Numbers | 12.06.2013
Currently, the inmates with HIV live, eat and exercise apart from the general population, according to court documents filed by the ACLU. MOBILE, Alabama -- One night last year, Carl Demetrius Smith pointed a gun at a Circle K clerk in west Mobile, tried and failed to steal cash, and ran away with an 18-pack of Bud Light, according to prosecutors.
In a quiet process with far-reaching consequences, the Alabama Sentencing Commission — a panel of judges, lawyers and corrections officials created a decade ago — is working to establish clear rules for how long criminals spend behind bars. The idea of guaranteeing prison time has rippled across the country since the 1970s, leading to a range of policies among the states.
As a result, Mississippi’s prison population doubled over the next decade to 22,800, and costs nearly tripled to $327 million. Alabama prisons house nearly twice as many inmates — 25,300 — as the system was designed for. Bennet Wright, the Alabama commission’s executive director, said that most states that enacted truth-in-sentencing either built new prisons or already had spare room ready for swelling ranks of inmates. Wright estimated that building a new prison would cost $80 million to $100 million, which doesn’t include costs to operate it. He said that the state needs to invest in more post-release supervision to help watch over and rehabilitate newly released inmates. As it stands now, an inmate who behaves well and is serving time for a less violent crime is more likely to be awarded parole and report to an officer upon release.
Parole also gives inmates incentive to follow the rules and participate in group therapy, substance abuse treatment and other rehabilitation, said Cynthia Dillard, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles executive director who also sits on the sentencing commission. The only requirement under state law is that a prisoner serve one-third of his sentence or 10 years, whichever is less, she said.
This year’s Legislature refused to drop a 2011 deadline for the sentencing commission to come up with a mandatory prison-time plan.


Under the system in place now, he said, it’s nearly impossible to know exactly how sentences translate into actual prison time. The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven HIV-positive inmates, called the decision 'historic.'  Alabama and South Carolina are the only states that segregate HIV-positive prisoners.
Alabama state prisons are the focus of a class action suit for unfairly separating inmates infected with HIV from the general population. Kim Thomas, Alabama's corrections commissioner, said the state has been working to improve conditions at the prisonThe DOJ noted that the prison's new warden was not there 'when much of the alleged misconduct took place'.Under Alabama law, it is a Class C felony for 'any employee to engage in sexual conduct with a person who is in the custody of the Department of Corrections'. Built in 1942 in the sleepy town of Wetumpka, Alabama’s lone prison for women has a “history of unabated staff-on-prisoner sexual abuse and harassment,” the U.S.
Corrections officers have raped, beaten and harassed women inside the aging prison here for at least 18 years, according to an unfolding Justice Department investigation.
Based on all the information Yellowhammer has been able to gather from numerous sides, including lawmakers and former prisoners, Gov.
Alabama has the second-highest number of inmates per capita in the nation and the state’s prisons are filled to roughly twice their capacity.
Alabama’s prisons are currently at roughly 187 percent capacity, 50 percent higher than the level the Court mandated for California.
Just over half the state’s prisoners are locked up for drug and property crimes, a rate for nonviolent offenses that is among the highest in the nation.
As Yellowhammer wrote earlier this year, legislators must reform Alabama’s prisons or risk a federal judge doing it for us. Great article Cliff, I was actually in a state prison visiting a client and the state of our prison’s in this state is unacceptable. Armed robbery, rape, kidnapping, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated sodomy and aggravated child molestation all carry 10 years in prison for first-time offenders, with no early release.


Dozens of inmates were interviewed as part of the investigation and 233 letters were received from women currently serving time at the prison. Justice Department says conditions were once so bad they likely violated the inmates’ constitutional rights. More than a third of the employees have had sex with prisoners, which is sometimes the only currency for basics like toilet paper and tampons. Ward and others say, is not to build more prisons but to change the sentencing guidelines that have filled the prisons well beyond capacity.
Alabama spends the lowest amount of money per inmate of any state and I applaud the efficiency by the DOC, but Alabama has to do a better job of protecting the inmates from sexual and physical abuse. Roughly a quarter of the prison population reported abuse including sexual harassment, dehumanizing behavior, excessive use of force and inadequate medical care.Multiple women over several years made similar abuse allegations - which were backed up by some current and former staff. DOJ accused Alabama of violating inmates’ constitutional rights to be protected from harm, alleging that corrections officers had assaulted inmates, coerced inmates into sex, inappropriately watched inmates in the showers and bathrooms and once even helped in a New Year’s Eve strip show.
In short, 24,000 more people had their car stolen in California in 2012 as a result of the state not being able to get its prison overcrowding problem under control. It is true that under Governor Bentley’s leadership the DOC has made improvements but the state of Alabama cannot tolerate rape in its prison’s. It is common knowledge that many prisoner are not afforded medical attention in a timely manner.



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