Alabama Department of Corrections ridiculous and arbitrary mail practices that discriminates against women with the lowest custody level at Birmingham Community Based Work Release Facility

There is nothing in the Alabama Department of Corrections administrative regulations that we could find that details what they are doing to the women’s mail at this facility. As mail arrives, it is photocopied, be it letters, birthday cards or photographs, they then destroy the originals and give the women the black and white photocopy.

They claim this arbitrary practice is in order to stem the supply of drugs into the facility, however, despite not having visitation for over 3 months now due to the pandemic, the drugs are still readily available which proves what we all suspected anyway, in that the drugs are not brought in by an inmates family and friends at visitation, but rather its being smuggled in by ADOC’s own staff or via legal mail.

The key dealers in this facility know how to easily circumvent ADOC’s ineffective drug screening and detection protocols, they would rather punish every woman by destroying their mail, even mail that is sent from 3rd party online services, than deal with the culprits effectively.

Morale and self esteem is at an all time low, visitation has been put on hold with no time frame of when it will resume. This work release facility should be preparing women to go back into the free world after years of suffering within these hell hole facilities where they have been deliberately denied even the most basic of human rights, but ADOC is doing the opposite, they are locking down, they are taking away, they are disregarding and punishing those that have already been punished with the loss of their liberty in some cases for decades already, now they can’t even receive a picture drawn by a child to its mother.

We are sick and tired of how they treat our loved ones.

 

Governor Ivey needs to hear from you

This week, the ACLU of Alabama’s Campaign for Smart Justice released a new report regarding the dramatic drop in paroles. Since Governor Ivey appointed a new director at the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, the board has denied release to 92 percent of all scheduled hearings.

Meanwhile, the number of scheduled hearings has also dropped dramatically from over 600 per month in 2018 to approximately 150 scheduled for January 2020.

For individuals trying to survive inside Alabama’s violent and overcrowded prisons, the board’s actions can truly be a life or death decision. And if this trend continues, the prison population that is already over capacity will explode in 2020, leading to even more violence against the incarcerated population and correctional officers.

That’s why we’ve been asking them to release their policies on how they schedule parole hearings, but they haven’t answered.

Send an email to Governor Ivey and the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, and demand they release their policies NOW. Lives depend on it.

Thanks for sticking with us,

ACLU of Alabama

Gov. Kay Ivey signs contract for health care in Alabama prisons

By Mike Cason mcason@al.com and published here
The disciplinary segregation ward at Draper Correctional Facility during a media tour of the prison in February 2017. (Julie Bennett/jbennett@al.com)
The disciplinary segregation ward at Draper Correctional Facility during a media tour of the prison in February 2017. (Julie Bennett/jbennett@al.com)

Gov. Kay Ivey has signed a contract with a Pittsburgh-based company to provide medical care and mental health care in Alabama prisons after a short delay related to a lawsuit filed against the company by the state of Mississippi.

The Department of Corrections will pay Wexford Health Sources Inc., $360 million over 30 months, beginning April 1.

The chairman of the Legislature’s contract review committee, Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills, had delayed the contract on March 1. Williams said his concerns were mostly about the Mississippi litigation.

Williams said he released the contract last week because he did not want to hinder Alabama’s efforts to reach an agreement in a federal lawsuit over mental health care for prisoners. The contract review committee cannot block legislation but can hold it for up to 45 days.

“The governor had the ultimate say-so on this. My intention was to give the governor’s office further time to evaluate the situation,” Williams said.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled last year that Alabama’s mental health care for inmates was “horrendously inadequate.” The state has proposed increasing mental health staff in prisons as part of an effort to come up with a plan that would satisfy the court.

The contract with Wexford calls for increased mental health staffing. The Legislature is close to approving a total of about $80 million in additional funding for prisons over two years. Most of that is intended to pay for increased medical and mental health care costs.

The Department of Corrections chose Wexford over two other final bidders, Centurion and Corizon Health. Centurion includes MHM Services, which is DOC’s current mental health provider. Corizon Health is DOC’s current medical care provider.

The department has not released the bid amounts. Spokesman Bob Horton said they would be released after the Tuesday deadline for the other bidders to file a challenge. Horton said no protest has been filed as of today.

The state of Mississippi sued Wexford and other companies alleging they had a role in a scheme to pay consultants to bribe state officials. Mississippi’s former prison commissioner was sentenced to prison. Wexford has denied any wrongdoing.

Williams said the Department of Corrections contract includes a provision that Wexford could forfeit a $15 million bond if it turns out the company has not been truthful in its assertions about the Mississippi case.