Alabama Department Of Corrections Grievance against Officers Program

Alabama Department of Corrections started a grievance against Officers program. We inmates can file grievances against Officers who abuse us and/or abuse their positions. Lt. Bendford is our grievance Officer and she rules on all complaints. She’s been working with the same Officers and supervisors for years.

Alabama Department Of Corrections Grievance against Officers Program
Alabama Department Of Corrections Grievance against Officers Program

She even goes out to lunch with some of them. She has committed some of the same offences that grievances state, another has done. How can she be objective and unbiased? She can’t.

Every grievance filed against her co-workers are “unfounded”. We are discouraged and pray that the Feds will take over. Every person who works here needs to be removed.

We pray a Fed takeover because that’s our only hope at justice.

 

Transcribed from a letter by an inmate, identity withheld in fear of retaliation
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Despite talks of reform, Alabama’s prisons remain deplorable

Article Originally published here on January 09, 2017 at 3:35 PM, updated January 09, 2017 at 3:39 PM
Inmates sitting on their bunks in a dorm in Julia Tutwiler Prison in Wetumpka. (Julie Bennett/jbennett@al.com)
Inmates sitting on their bunks in a dorm in Julia Tutwiler Prison in Wetumpka. (Julie Bennett/jbennett@al.com)

By Dr. Larry F. Wood, retired clinical and correctional psychologist

I spoke out on the prison reform issue two years ago after working in Tutwiler women’s prison as a prison psychologist. Even after 25 years of professional experience in prisons, I was unprepared for the immensity of the problems. In particular, mental health and medical care were severely inadequate. The administration of the prison was unprofessional and abusive. Two years ago, I described the prison environment as a culture of abuse.

In the past two years, a federal investigation has continued and a trial is under way. The State of Alabama continues to deny that the conditions are unconstitutional. No substantial improvements or program changes have been announced. Governor Bentley has focused on borrowing money to build more prisons.

I have been disappointed that little seems to have happened over the past two years. State Senator Cam Ward has spoken eloquently on the subject, but there seems to be no political will to address the problem directly.

One core of the problem is the simple overuse of imprisonment to deal with social problems other than aggressive criminality. The most extreme example is mental illness. State hospitals were closed because of abusive conditions and now, most of the seriously mentally ill in our state are in prisons. Many other inmates are intellectually inadequate, socially unskilled, or drug addicted. Many were traumatized by a lifetime of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Prisons were initially used to control and punish the overtly dangerous. Their role has been expanded over many years to include the chronically disruptive in society. Such people are arrested numerous times and are backed up in county jails, waiting for beds to house them in prison. Prison, as a punisher, is not appropriate or effective for many such inmates.

Simply stated, Alabama’s prisons are overcrowded because too many people are being held in expensive, high security lockups. If our prisons were reduced to recommended population levels, they could be operated safely and professionally. Minimum security facilities with focused treatment and programs would be far less expensive than prisons for most inmates.

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Air Conditioning Is a Human Right

Jeff Edwards and Scott Medlock July 21, 2016
Air Conditioners are desperately needed throughout Alabama's prison system
Air Conditioners are desperately needed throughout Alabama’s prison system

Edwards and Medlock are trial lawyers with Edwards Law in Austin.

Texas, like other states, does not air condition its prisons—and by doing so, it kills people.

In 2011, the State of Texas convicted Larry McCollum of forgery, for passing a bad check. He was supposed to serve a short prison sentence of two years, then go home to his family. Instead, the conditions inside Texas prisons gave him a death sentence. He died of heat stroke—indoors.

Over 120,000 beds in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system do not have air conditioning, including the Hutchins State Jail near Dallas, where Mr. McCollum was imprisoned. As a result, the indoor heat index—the combination of temperature and humidity—frequently exceeds 100 degrees on hot summer days. Shortly before Mr. McCollum died, the Hutchins’ warden received multiple emails from the risk manager, who took a thermometer around to the dorms, stating the temperature inside the inmate dormitories reached 102 degrees by early afternoon, and that the heat index inside was likely 123. While Mr. McCollum baked inside his dormitory, his body temperature rose to 109.4. Eventually, his body began to seize, and he was hospitalized. When his wife and adult children were summoned, they learned his body temperature had permanently damaged his brain, and he would not survive.

According to the National Weather Service, in an average year, heat kills more people than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. In all, during the past 18 years, over 20 men have died with the cause of death of heat stroke inside prison buildings constructed and maintained by the State of Texas. Though the count is likely much higher: When temperatures go over 90 degrees, the medical risk of heat stroke increases markedly, and it can lead to other causes of death, especially for people with certain common medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or asthma, or who take certain medications, including most mental health prescriptions.

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The warden refuses to listen to cries for help.

I was just released form the Montgomery Women’s Facility yesterday, 06/07/2016. The medical staff there has got to be the worst in the world. I spent 1 1/2 years in pain and sick only to find out last month I had “some kind” of mass in my side. I was given meds that I was allergic to, causing serious side effects. I have witnessed individuals become ill and need immediate attention and told to put in a sick call.

The heat inside the warehouse is over 100 degrees as we speak. Yet when organizations offer to donate a/c systems they are turned down even though women are falling out with heat exhaustion. Rules change not just on a daily basis but on the same shift from officer to officer. Why? Because the officers are allowed to run this camp, not a warden.

This facility is supposed to be for work release, yet over half are not. This facility currently houses 300 people in an 75 x 95 tin building. It is filthy, over run with rats, roaches and flies. The septic system must be emptied at least once a month and the fumes are toxic. There is a constant gas leak outside the building that causes nausea and head aches.

The water is from the prison next door and is constantly being shut off. State jobs are not assigned to age appropriate individuals. Often women over 50 will be put on outside/inside grounds working harder than some men. Not only are women punished for infractions with write ups they then must do extra duty. Does not matter if you are smoking in an unauthorized area or have a dirty urine the punishment is the same.

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Why we should close women’s prisons and treat their crimes more fairly

Photograph: K C Bailey/NetflixImage from Orange Is The New Black

‘Nearly every incarcerated woman is the victim of a perverse and lazy policy disfigurement that fails to acknowledge the marked differences between female and male offenders.’

By  and originally published by the guardian
 Professor Mirko Bagaric is the Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Sentencing at Deakin University, Melbourne. Wednesday 1 June 2016 

Women almost never scare us; commit random acts of serious violence; violate our sexual integrity; or form organised crime networks and yet their prisons numbers are now the highest in recorded history.

The homogeneity of the human species breaks down when it comes to criminal behaviour. Women, who constitute slightly more than 50% of population, commit only about 20% of all crime. They commit even a lower portion of all serious crime.

Hillary Clinton is right to assert that the sentencing system should be reformed to reduce the growing number of female prisoners but the changes should go much further than has been suggested. We should implement concrete targets to remove the stains on our landscape and societal ethic that are women’s prisons.

There are remarkably similar patterns of female offending and incarceration in the United States and Australia. In the United States women commit only 17% of felonies, while in Australia they commit about 13% of the crimes dealt with in the higher courts.

Moreover, when it comes to sexual offences, rounded off to the nearest whole number, women constitute 0% of all offenders – that’s right, zero. The crimes they most commonly commit are drug and property offences. Thus, in the US, approximately 30% of female prisoners are incarcerated for property offences, and a further 26% for drug offences. The percentages for these offences are 26% and 17%, respectively, in Australia.

Women do of course commit homicide offences, but nearly always the victim is a relative and the crime was committed against the backdrop of an abusive relationship or depressive mindset. All homicides are heinous crimes but the types of homicides committed by women rarely involve random victims and hence do not engender community fear.

Despite this, the rate of female incarceration in both the United States and Australia is on the increase – far outstripping the increase in male incarceration levels. Women now comprise 8% of prisoners in the United States and Australia, which amounts to more than 200,000 incarcerated inmates in the US and 3,000 in Australia.

Nearly every one of these incarcerated women is the victim of a perverse and lazy policy disfigurement that fails to acknowledge the marked differences between female and male offenders. The differences are so stark that not only should women be treated more leniently because they commit less serious crime but they should also be treated more leniently when they commit the same crime as a man.

There are four major differences between male and female offenders.

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Small Issues Tell a Bigger Story of Reverse Racism at Montgomery Women’s Facility

I never thought I’d see it, but it happens everyday here ~ reverse racism. We have roughly 70 Alabama Department Of Corrections employess and Officers and supervisors here and only 2 are white, and one is from Romania. Our Warden is black as well as our Captain and all supervisors.

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Small issues tell a bigger story of reverse racism at Montgomery Women’s Facility

The black inmates as well as Officers can call us honkies and crackers and nothing is said. I stood in pill line and watched the black Officer make a white inmate walk all the way around the tables to get to her seat, yet a few minutes later, she let 2 black inmates take the short cut, the white inmate was denied and yelled at for trying to take.

This same Officer made a white inmate get to the end of line for a minute to retrieve her ID and would not let her get her spot back. When there are disagrements between black and white inmates, Officers and Supervisors always side with the black inmates.

Parole board has been granting parole to black females with violent crimes these past 3 years, but us white females with violent crimes have been denied parole and set off 5 years. No one is helping us and we are without hope at this corrupted facility ran by Alabama Department of Corrections.

Transcribed by admin from a statement by an inmate , identity withheld as she is in fear of retaliation.

Chow time, Supplies, Scamming Money and Warehouse Living. An inmates account of day to day living at Montgomery Women’s Facility

Chow Time

We have 300 inmates here and roughly 200-250 of us eat in the chow hall. They claim to give us 15 minutes to eat but they give us only 5 -7 minutes. We barely chew our food. We’ve learned just to eat as fast as we can and swallow without barely chewing the food. The food comes out of the server so hot it burns our mouths. All we get are starches. We get 1 apple a month and 1 orange a month. Breakfast, the most important meal, they give us 2 tablespoons of eggs, ¼ cup of grits or oatmeal and 1 biscuit that is the size of a golfball.

Chow time, supplies and warehouse living at Montgomery Women's Facility
Chow time, supplies and warehouse living at Montgomery Women’s Facility

We used to get desserts at lunch and dinner, but they cut the desserts down to 4 times a week. The stewardess alters the menu all the time. We are not fed according to the food pryimid. On 2nd shift the officers argue who is going to feed us. We’re supposed to eat at 04:30 but we don’t get fed till almost 5 and then we are yelled at the whole time whilst eating and are rushed to eat.

SUPPLIES – We’re supposed to get 1 bottle of shampoo, 4 bars of soap, deodorant, 1 razor, 1 tube of shower cream. The black folks get a shampoo and conditioner for their hair as well as hair grease, but the officer in charge of our supplies never orders enough. Today we ran out of the bottles of shampoo for white people and when the officer was asked, what was we who got no shampoo to do, her reply was “I guess you won’t have any shampoo”. We’re supposed to get supplies every 30 days, yet our supplies are every 45 days. This same officer was supposed to give us 3 pairs of state shorts along with 3 t-shirts, but she gave us only 1 pair of shorts and 1 t-shirt.

The other 2 female prisons got their 3 shorts and 3 t-shirts. We’re also supposed to get 2 pairs of shorts pyjamas and 2 pyjama pants, yet we get none of either. We get 6 panties 4 bras every 6 months. The panties tear up within a week and she never has our size. The panties are either too small or too big. The bras for big girls are rarely available, size 40 or bigger. We get sports bras, either too big or too small. I am out of panties altogether but cannot get any for another 4 months, so now i go without, which is against regs, yet its not my fault that i can’t get anymore.

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Officers can scan and insert false and malicious documents into our files

Here at Montgomery Women’s Facility bullies are everywhere. Us who fall victim to the bullies and report it, are told we have to have witnesses to verify the bullying done to us. I was verbally attacked by another inmate right after our PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) video. This inmate called me names, made fun of my body and mocked me for some PREA incidents i had reported. She then came to the shower i was in to threaten me bodily harm. I left the shower in tears. The officer right outside the bathroom heard everything yet did nothing.

Experience with bullies at Montgomery Women's Facility
Experience with bullies at Montgomery Women’s Facility

I reported all this to our PREA rep and she called me a liar, said i had no proof, the officer who witnessed it said she heard nothing. I left in tears feeling hopeless. The next day, the inmate who got into it with her employer, the notorious canteen lady, threw my canteen at me for retaliation. I reported this as well and nothing was done. I was told to walk with a “bodyguard” at all times, so if the bullies picked on me again, i would have a witness. What bully picks on another in front of others?

This inmate violated everything that PREA says another inmate cannot do to another inmate, yet that inmate still resides at Montgomery Women’s Facility, bullying still. Overtime she passes me, she bumps into me, trying to instigate something. I say nothing because it does me no good to report to ones who are crooked and cover up stuff.

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Animals are treated better than us

Every morning, Monday – Friday all 300 of us gets kicked out of the dorm at 7am so a few inmates can clean the front of the dorm and our bathroom. We are left outside till 08.30 and 9am. We only have 14 tables that will sit roughly 70 inmates. The rest of us have to sit on the ground. We get kicked out while its cold and even if the ground and tables are soaking wet from rain. The only time we don’t get kicked out is if its below 32°f.

Statement form an inmate highlighting the daily routine in Montgomery Women's Facility
Statement form an inmate highlighting the daily routine in Montgomery Women’s Facility

They don’t take into consideration of the wind chill. During the summer we have no shade and are forced to be in the sun for 2 hrs. We clean our own living areas yet we’re forced outside when its wet, cold, windy or when its hot and humid. The officers start yelling at us at 06:15 to get in compliance and to get out. Yet regs state compliance time is 08:00 but we are forced at 07:00. The officers snicker and think its funny that they herd us out.

Our roof leaks in over a dozen spots. We have to move our 300lbs beds when it rains, so we won’t get rained on. Once again, we live in worse conditions than animals.

On 3rd shift, which is 22:00 to 06:00 they torture us with the lights. They won’t turn the lights off till 23:30 or 00:00, then they cut them back on at 01:00 to count, then again at 03:00 and they remain on all morning. We are sleep deprived.

On our pill line, there are over 70 of us, yet the officers will call everyone up there at one time creating a cluster of people blocking aisles. Some of us will go as the pill line goes down to about 15 inmates, yet the officers will prevent us from getting our meds, saying we are late to pill line. Yet how can i be late to pill line, when pill line is still going? The night before last, a Sgt. actually wrote up an inmate for taking her medicine after she came to pill line, when the line still had 10 inmates in line. We are not to be refused our meds, yet we are at Montgomery Women’s Facility.

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