Police, Jail, Brutality, Misconduct, Violence, Walton + Brown, Homicide

Alabama Men's Prisons are so Unsafe They Likely Violate the 8th Amendment

According to a recent report from the Department of Justice (DOJ), there is reasonable cause to believe that the conditions in men’s prisons in the state of Alabama violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. This report was released this week by the DOJ’s civil rights division and U.S. attorney’s offices in Alabama.  

According to the report, Alabama prisons have the highest homicide rate in the country, and there is even reason to believe that homicides are being under-counted. The Alabama Department of Corrections reported 24 inmate homicides between January 2015 and June 2018, but investigators identified 3 additional homicides that had been listed as deaths from natural causes. Violence tends to be a frequent occurrence in a lot of these prisons, and oftentimes the violence happens out of sight of correctional officers.  

One prisoner claims that he was “tied up, burned and tortured for two days” in retaliation for his previous report of a sexual assault. Another prisoner was found to have been stabbed 22 times, to the surprise of correctional officers who had no idea the incident occurred. The investigation cites defective locks, insufficient or ineffective cameras, and a lack of mirrors as part of the ongoing problems these prisons face.  

The DOJ has notified Alabama officials that it could sue if corrective action isn’t taken. The Alabama legislature increased funding for prisons in 2017, after a federal judge ruled that the mental health care for state inmates was “horrendously inadequate.” Alabama governor Kay Ivey is asking for an additional $40 million next year, mainly to recruit 500 more correction officers.  

This news comes shortly after the press release announcing the lawsuit of Shamieke Pugh and Maurice Lee against several officers at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. According to the suit, Mr. Pugh and Mr. Lee were violently stabbed by another fellow inmate while correctional officers stood idly by and did little to prevent the attack. Violence among inmates and correctional officers tends to be an unwelcome occurrence in prisons across the country. It will be interesting to see how the Alabama governor’s plan for additional correctional officers will help in reducing these violent attacks. If you or a loved one believe that your civil rights have been violated, either in or out of prison, please contact Walton + Brown, LLP at 614-636-3476 for a free consultation.  

Disclaimer: The materials available on this page are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you still have questions about civil rights, it would be best for you to contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any issue or problem. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site does not create an attorney-client relationship.


About Us

Walton + Brown, LLP takes pride in having a successful serious personal injury and civil rights practice, unafraid to step into a courtroom and litigate cases to the fullest extent necessary. With over 450 lawsuits filed and over $18 million in settlements or verdicts won for our clients, Sean and Chanda bring a record of success. Sean and Chanda have been awarded Top 100 and Top 40 Under 40 designations as trial attorneys. 


Walton + Brown, LLP 

395 E. Broad Street, Suite 200  

Columbus, OH 43215

614-636-3476 (Office)

614-636-3453 (Fax)