PRESS STATEMENT: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
UPDATE: Another officer-related stabbing at Holman
ROBERT WASHINGTON was tied up and then beaten by CERT Team officers at Holman Prison.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 21, 2016
Mother’s and F.A.M.ilies
P.O. BOX 186
New Market, Al 35761
Holman Prison, Atmore, Ala. As the culture of violence in Alabama’s prison system continues to spiral out of control, yet another provocation has resulted in another day of violence at Holman prison. Holman prison is experiencing major staff shortages as a result of officers joining and supporting the non-violent work strikes being lead by FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT.
In response to the work strikes and quitting of their jobs by correctional officers , the ADOC Commissioners responded by dispatching CERT Team staff and officers from other prisons to fill staffing positions. These CERT Team officers are notorious for, and have a well documented history of violent beatings, sexual harassment, and excessive force. (See FAM YouTube channel for videos. https://t.co/y4VLiUp7Cc)
Just last month, CERT officers beat Cleveland Cunningham , the man who has been charged in the death of another correctional officer, leaving him with an unexplained broken arm and broken leg. This after-the-fact beating was administered after it was widely reported to the news media by ADOC that Mr. Cunningham was taken into custody without incident. The same brutality was meted out in March on five men transferred from Holman in March after a riot had taken place. All five men were taken to W.E. Donaldson prison, where they were taken one at a time in handcuffs, shackles, and belly chains into a guard shack and severely beaten and sexually assaulted. This matter was investigated by the Commissioner’s Officer, but not a single officer was disciplined.
In response to the escalating violence at Holman prison, various factions, including street organizations and religious communities formed a peace summit last month that was called for by FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and its co-founder Robert E. Council, also known as Kinetik Justice. The peace accord proved effective and provided a temporary stop to violence, while organizers sought more permanent solutions, including a request for more educational and rehabilitation programs. The response from Warden Raybon was that he did not care about any truce and that he was going to stop the violence with his own methods. The peace accord dissolved and aggression tactics by the warden were implemented in furtherance of a plan that has been described by FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT co-founder Kinetik Justice as “THE HOLMAN PROJECT.”
Warden Raybon oversees the “Holman Project ” that has lead to over 50 stabbings and several deaths.”
Kinetik Justice described this Holman Project, and many officers agreed, as wardens and commissioners in collusion and deliberately creating conditions that lead to violence in efforts to push their plan for 1.5 billion dollars to build new prisons. One example that Kinetik Justice gave was when Warden Raybon released over 20 offenders from segregation units at one time who were all in segregation for violent incidents. Immediately upon this release, over 8 stabbings took place in less than 72 hours. Not long after these incidents, officers began openly supporting FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT’s non-violent stance and started giving media interviews calling out Commissioner’s and Wardens over the violence, poor leadership, inhumane living and working conditions, overcrowding, and lack of educational and rehabilitation opportunities, while focusing exclusively on new prison construction.
Kinetik Justice has since paid the price for organizing this peace summit and exposing the Holman Project, as he was transferred to Kirby Prison last week to prevent disrupting the 1.5 billion dollar prison construction plan. The Commissioners and the politicians need violence in the prisons so that they can spread their campaign of fear to the pybluc and sell their 1.5 billion dollar extortion plan for more prisons.
In a move that further served to escalate tension, Warden Raybon put out a memo effective October 1, 2016, wherein he directed officers to direct their attention to minor infractions like haircuts and shaves, in the midst of an unprecedented scale of violence. Officers were instructed to begin confronting people on these minor infractions, and it was this aggressive, confrontational policy that lead to yet another officer-related stabbing today.
The crisis in ADOC is not going away. Despite rising violence for over 3 consecutive years, ADOC officials have not added any new educational or rehabilitation programs. In fact, the root of this current stream of violence can be traced back to 2009 when former warden Carter Davenport was installed as warden at St. Clair. Davenport’s first action as warden was to remove the Convicts Against Violence Educational and Mentoring program, which, at the time, had made St. Clair prison one of the least violent prisons with the most Freeworld support and sponsorships in the State of Alabama. One year later, under the leadership of Davenport, St. Clair was one of the most violent prisons in the State. By 2013, St. Clair prison was one of the most violent in the nation. At one point, both head wardens at St. Clair, Davenport and Eric Evans, had multiple prior assaults and misconduct reports against them in their personnel files. (See report by Casey Toner, https://t.co/QPKsimvV59). After Davenport was transferred to Holman prison, in less than 90 days the prison experienced two riots and Davenport was forced to resign after being stabbed.
The trail of violence has spread to multiple prisons, with disruptions, stabbings and violent deaths all on the rise. Bibb Co, Elmore, Ventress and just this week, Draper have all experienced excessive violence. Instead of adding programs for an idle population that has Alabama prisons filled to over 200% capacity, ADOC has removed GED and other programs, and replaced them with nothing. While the politicians and commissioners position themselves to extort 1.5 billion from taxpayers, the men and women on the ground continue to pay a heavy toll in blood.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT is calling for a return of the Convicts Against Violence Educational and Mentoring program as part of their Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-Entry Preparedness program. These programs are self-funded and didn’t cost taxpayers one dime. Thus, there was no room for fraud or stealing funds and so these programs were removed and replaced with programs that clearly are not working and that exist only on paper.
Robbing taxpayers to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars for building new prisons is not the answer to the problems that are plaguing Alabama’s prisons today. When there is a culture of violence that has ran this deep and for this long, the root of these problems have to be traced to the ever present factors, which then have to be removed. This starts at the top where policies and decisions are being made. In two neighboring states, Florida and Mississippi we see similar problems, yet Alabama has a different response. In Mississippi, we see corrupt prison officials going to jail. In Florida, we see corrupt officers being fired. In Alabama, we see no response at all. Instead of building new prisons, it appears time to build a new commissioner’s office in Alabama, and create a culture of education and rehabilitation, while putting an end to the perpetrators of the “culture of violence.”
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT