FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, the FAM’s Queen Team, and other activists and inside organizers are in the process of developing a comprehensive strategy and press statement to present to Governor Kay Ivey, the Alabama Parole Board, the Juvenile Division of the Courts, incarcerated citizens in Alabama, and family members, friends, and loved ones, in our efforts to combat the spreading and potentially deadly consequences of the COVID-19 virus in the Alabama prison system.
In the meantime, we are providing our immediate recommendations, as time is of essence.
Among other demands, F. A. M. will call upon Governor Kay Ivey to release all incarcerated persons serving split sentences. Under Alabama law, the maximum time required to be served on a split sentence is 5 years. All fairness dictates that no person serving such a sentence should be subjected to a potential death sentence courtesy of COVID-19 and the State of Alabama’s inhumane living conditions inside the prisons.
Additionally, F.A.M. will call for the release of all incarcerated persons who fit the eligibility requirements for mandatory parole release pursuant to Title 15-22-26.2, Code of Alabama 1975. Currently this law, which was enacted in 2016, is suffering the same fate as the “Kirby” law: there are no clear guidelines for enforcement and no formal process or forms in place to request release by eligible persons. For the most part, Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) employees at the institutional level lack any knowledge of the mandatory parole release laws and procedures. Thus, many potentially qualified individuals who should be at home right now have been bypassed for release, and currently languish somewhere within the Alabama State prison system under a potential death sentence courtesy of COVID-19 and the State of Alabama.
F.A.M. is further calling for the release of society’s most precious asset – our youth – along with the mentally ill from juvenile detention facilities and adult prisons around the State. Our youth, including those suffering from mental illnesses who are the most vulnerable, are left out of reports, surveys, etc….. related to the pandemic, but F.A.M. will never forget about these precious beings who are for the most part not even capable of understanding the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
F.A.M. will also be calling for the discontinuation of the sale of any and all tobacco products within all ADOC facilities. These products affect the respiratory system and lungs of users and those exposed to second hand smoke, thus exacerbating the potential for further complications in relation to COVID-19. Known carcinogens and products known to negatively affect the respiratory tract should not be sold in overcrowded jails and prisons where COVID-19 is sure to attack the body and its organs. It is critical that everyone be in their best possible health condition in order for them to combat this deadly virus and fight for our lives.
Finally, F.A.M. will also be calling upon religious, civic and community volunteers to assist with maintaining a healthier and safe environment for the incarcerated by donating gloves, masks and hand sanitizes, cleaning supplies and any other necessary supplies recommended by the CDC to the prisons throughout the State. Many of these type organizations and citizens already perform prison ministry work inside Alabama prisons and jails. But, in light of COVID-19, prison authorities have restricted access to all prison facilities to only ADOC employees and essential personnel.
What these times show is that prison ministry is extremely essential in the Alabama, and needed now more than ever before. We need bold and innovative leadership from the body of Christ, as well as the Islamic, Jewish, Catholic, Odinist, and other communities, because the Alabama Department of Corrections simply does not have the capacity or ability to take the necessary steps required to stop COVID-19 from “spreading like wildfire” within the overcrowded prisons.
Join F.A.M. and FAM Queen Team on the Frontline as we battle to save lives in Alabama prisons and jails.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
FAM’s Queen Team