With over 14 active prisons, one would believe the number of inmates would be less in the State of Alabama. However, that is not true. Alabama stands at the top 4th in prison admission, which is due to several reasons largely associated with the high crime rate in Alabama.
Over the years, the prisons of Alabama have gathered a terrible reputation largely because of former inmates complaining about the inhuman conditions that they have endured.
In this article, we will be looking into what makes the prisons of Alabama the worst and what are the top 7 worst prisons in Alabama.
Are prisons in Alabama the worst in the United States?
As a matter of fact, yes.
The prisons in the state of Alabama do not have a very good reputation, and cases of human rights violations are very rampant. While the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) has promised they will look into it, however, so far, nothing concrete has been done.
What makes prisons in Alabama the worst?
There are several reasons why prisons in Alabama are the worst. These come down to the following reasons:
- Prisons are not maintained regularly, and therefore the hygienic conditions are unbearable.
- There are frequent prison fights due to prison gangs.
- Prisons in Alabama are understaffed, which leads to lawlessness and prison fights.
- Guards of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) have been accused of allowing fights to persist rather than stopping them.
- High levels of corruption.
- Widespread and rampant physical & sexual abuse of inmates from other inmates and even guards.
Therefore, due to these reasons, the prisons in Alabama are the worst ones in the United States. Nearly all the 14 active facilities face these problems.
Top 7 worst prisons in the state of Alabama:
The following are the top 7 worst prisons in Alabama:
1. St. Clair Correctional Facility:
Saint Clair Correctional Facility was opened in 1983 and is a maximum security prison for men. It is located in Springville, St Clair County, Alabama. The facility is on top of our list because the moment it was opened, it resulted in a terrible fight among employees and inmates.
In April 1983, just a few weeks after the prison was opened, a fight erupted in which inmates were successful enough to make the prison’s warden and deputy hostage, among other 22 employees. 5 others were beaten badly, and their weapons were stolen. Officers from all over Alabama had to be called to restore order.
Since then, nothing much has changed in prison. In fact, this made guards exert more force to exhibit their dominance. The year 2014 alone saw one of the worst killings, during which six inmates were killed, and their reasons remain unknown; however, many blame the overcrowded prison, which was at 130% of its capacity leading to gang fights.
In 2016, the prison was 59.5% full staffing levels making it the highest staff-to-inmate ratio among the US prisons. Even then, things do not seem to be in much control as cases of assaults are reported very often.
Saint Clair is definitely one of the worst and unsafest prisons in the US and shouldn’t be on anyone’s list.
2. William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility:
The second one on our list is the William E Donaldson Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison for men with a capacity of 1492. The prison remained calm during the initial few years; however, starting from the 1990s, things changed as, during this time, fights would regularly occur between guards and inmates, leading to killings of prison guards and inmates.
Over the years, the facility has seen some of the worst shortages of guards there can be. In fact, in the year 2007, the prison housed 1,400 inmates with just 207 guards. This is the main reason why gang fights were super common back then, leading to killings of other inmates.
In early 2022, the US Justice Department took note of the horrific conditions in the facility when 11 inmates died of unknown circumstances.
3. Bibb Correctional Facility:
Opened in 1998, Bibb Correctional Facility is minimum class security that can hold 1,824 male inmates. Stretched across 250 acres in the rural wetlands of Brent, Alabama, the prison does not hold a good reputation.
There are accusations of prison guards at Bibb Correctional facility asking young male inmates to perform acts with other male inmates for their entertainment. Those who declined to do so were charged with disciplinary violations. Additionally, there are reports of frequent fights leading to serious injuries among inmates; all while guards remain silent spectators.
What’s unfortunate is that over the years, there has been very little action against guards despite inmates' repeated deaths.
4. Elmore Correctional Facility:
Medium security prison that was opened in 1981 has a capacity of 1176 male inmates. The prison has been in the eyes of the Department of Justice over the years due to massive allegations made by former inmates. However, despite this, reports of abuses are extremely rampant.
Serious allegations have been put forward by former inmates who have claimed guards use physical abuse to exert dominance along with frequent misconduct where incarcerated inmates have been handcuffed, stripped naked, and beaten by guards on several occasions.
Guards are accused of taking inmates to isolated places, beating them, and handcuffing them.
5. Easterling Correctional Facility:
Another worst Alabama prison with serious accusations of inmate rights abuses. While there are very few accusations against the guards in this prison, the gangs in this prison are some of the worst, leading to fights being often lethal.
This is a reason why there are frequent homicides in Easterling Correctional Facility, where inmates have been found dead by guards in the morning; most of the time, the dead inmates are stabbed terribly.
Guards frequently inspect and check for murder weapons, but very little is helpful, and the cases only seem to grow as time passes.
6. Fountain Correctional Facility:
Located in Escambia County, Alabama. The prison is a medium security class prison that was opened in 1928.
One of the major issues that this prison faces is overcrowding. Many former inmates have reported this issue, but Alabama authorities seem very little to care about their time.
Overcrowding is one of the major reasons why the prison is unsafe hygienically where inmates do not have access to safe drinking water and clean places to sleep in, along with other issues associated with hygienic ones. This is also due to the prison being an old facility, and most of the services are out of order or in urgent need of repairs.
7. Kilby Correctional Facility:
Kilby Correctional Facility is another maximum security prison in Alabama that can house over 1400 inmates. While the prison has remained disciplined compared to other maximum security prisons in the state of Alabama, this does not mean everything is in order in this facility.
Former inmates report they go through “hell” while serving in this prison. For one, the prison is overcrowded, and second, the prison holds some of the worst criminals due to rampant fights among incarcerated members, often leading to murders.
This is why the officials of the Justice Department, in a 2019 report, termed this prison “deadly.”
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