God hates it when the innocent are afflicted with violence and bloodshed. He hates evil and political corruption. He hates courts that are false and leaders that are abusive of their power. We need to rest assured that he will provide deliverance for his faithful followers and administer justice to those who have abused or harmed other people – if not in this life, for sure in the life to come.
We the “Concerned citizens of Alabama” are seeking help for the incarcerated women and men who have been brutally raped, beaten and murdered by the inside officers.
We are asking that these women and men have proper food (that does not say on its labels “NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION”).
We are seeking help for people with a mental illness who are being “over- medicated” to the point they are unable to function.
For the women and men who are not getting the proper equipment to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus that surrounds them in the prison facilities; and all the injustices that our people face each and everyday.
At Donaldson Correctional Facility, the individuals with mental illness are housed in the gym of the facility due to overcrowdedness. The gym has very few windows and there is no ventilation flowing through. When it rains, the floors are flooded and these mentally ill men get wet. They sleep on the floor of the gym on a mat that was assigned to them. No beds or bunks but matts on the floors.
Women at Julia Tutwiler Prison are being raped everyday by prison officers and getting impregnated and having their child/children “ripped” from them. Women are also being raped and tortured with “flashlights” by ADOC prison officers.
Men at Bullock Correctional Facility are medicated to the point that when taking the meds administered by ADOC officials, they sleep for two (2) and three (3) days. When awakened, they find CONDOMS in their rectum. This is torture and taking a man’s manhood from him.
Another important factor is COVID-19. There have been many many deaths due to this virus and pandemic that we are all affected by. This virus is in every correctional facility in the state of Alabama. When an incarcerated person complains of feeling sick to someone of authority at the facility, he or she is denied medical attention and has to wait days to see a nurse. When it’s too late, they either die or have tested positive and in many cases are then sent back to their assigned bed (spreading the virus to other inmates) or finally transported to a hospital and in many cases have died upon arrival. That is mere hate and unconcern of human life. There are not enough masks or sanitizer for every incarcerated person.
Staff/employees of the ADOC have been diagnosed with this deadly virus as well. On Wednesday, June 24, 2020 only four (4) ADOC officials reported for work at Easterling Correctional Facility in Clio, Al due to being sick, tested positive for Covid-19 and in fear of contracting this deadly virus. The entire facility is on lockdown with the exception of one (1) dorm and the individuals in that dorm are being forced to work in the kitchen and serve food to everyone in the facility — putting their lives at risk.
Another demand we, the “Concerned Citizens of Alabama” are demanding is the removal of Alabama Parole Board Director, Charlie Graddick. The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles has become a dysfunctional institution under the directorship of Charles Graddick and is exhibiting signs of institutional racism. Emerging data compiled in a recent report by Southern Poverty Law Center shows that paroles are being granted/denied based on race and that Black people up for parole consideration are being disproportionately impacted.
In May 2020, 160 people were considered for parole. Approximately 51% were black and 47% were white. Of these, only 15 made parole. 11 of the 15 were white, while 4 were black. This is a clear example of Institutional Racism that is being openly practiced by government officials.
Removal of the Director of Paroles, Charlie Graddick, is indeed needed due to there being a conflict of interest on Graddick’s behalf. Graddick sentenced many men and women to prison when he served as a Judge in Mobile, Al, before he was appointed to Alabama Attorney General’s Office. Graddick has now been appointed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey as Director of Paroles for the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Parole.
Graddick also uses the word “hanging” at press conferences when speaking in regards to people up for parole, and his motto is “LOCK THEM UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEY”. In his position as director of ABPP, the lives and future of many men and women sits rests in his hands.
Lastly, we, Concerned Citizens of Alabama, demand automatic restoration of voting rights upon release from incarceration without having to wait 3 years for a pardon to have their voting rights restored.
This is just the “tip of the iceberg” of some of our concerns for our incarcerated men and women of Alabama.
We are also requesting a meeting with Governor Kay Ivey and Director of Paroles, Charlie Graddick to express our concerns regarding our incarcerated men and women in the Alabama prison system.
Sponsored by “Concerned Citizens of Montgomery, Al, joined in by “Concerned Citizens of Alabama”
Thank you kindly for your time,
Rev. Albert Sankey, Chairman (334) 269-5876 “Concerned Citizens of Montgomery” Kimberly Garner, Co-Chairman (205) 563-3786 “Concerned Citizens of Montgomery” Donna Smith – Parole Advocate (256) 404-5394 “A Voice for the Voiceless & “A Hope for the Hopeless”
Finally, the ADOC has release an updated report of the number of people who have died from COVID 19 inside Alabama’s deadly prisons. According to the ADOC website, 32 men and women have succumb to this deadly virus. But who knew?
From reading news reports you would think that hardly anyone is dying from COVID 19 in ADOC. How is it that 32 people have died from COVID 19 but no one has sounded the alarm that something tragic is going on? Where are these deaths occurring at? Has the ADOC identified a source? Which prisons are having the most outbreaks? What control measures and prevention strategies are being implemented? Is the public aware of the location of any clusters? What is really going on? 32
As many have heard by now, FAM is conducting a Protest at the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. #J232425. The ADOC and the Parole Bureau have got to release people from these death camps. Let’s work collectively to free our people from these Death Camps before it’s too late.
FROM: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, FAM’S QUEEN TEAM, NINE DIVINE
RE: PROTEST TO BE HELD AT ALABAMA BUREAU OF PARDONS AND PAROLES ON JUNE 23, 24 AND 25
ALABAMA DEPT OF CORRUPTION, STATEWIDE.
To all concerned citizens in the State of Alabama, all incarcerated individuals, to our elected and appointed State officials, and to all of our supporters around the World:
On June 23, 24 and 25, at 8:30 am, FAM and a Coalition of organizations, including FAM’s Queen Team, Nine Divine, family members, activists, attorneys, and supporters are calling for a 3-day Protest at the Headquarters for the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles in Montgomery, Al.
We are making this Call to Action to address the ongoing humanitarian crises taking place inside of the Alabama Department of Corrections, as well as to address decisions being made by the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles that are only exacerbating these issues.
Enough is enough !!!
Under the current leadership of Commissioner Jefferson Dunn, Alabama’s prisons are the most deadly, overcrowded and underfunded in the nation, and the unfathomable lose of life cannot continue on as usual. In May alone we mourned the death of six more men (and presumably women too) due to violence, suicide or other negligent acts while in ADOC custody.
At the same time, there were many more struggling to survive stabbings, self-mutilations due to mental health issues, and officer use of excessive force and brutality. As we release this statement, Donaldson prison was placed on lockdown due to another episode of violence that has been brewing for three days while ADOC staff stood by and allowed it to happen. We are sick of the savagery and barbarian that is the leadership of ADOC Commissioner Jefferson Dunn.
Enough is Enough !!!
Enough of the murders and drug overdoses. Enough COVID-19 deaths (Mr. Hershell Moon died from COVID 19 on June 3, 2020). Enough physical and sexual abuse. Enough of the suicides. Enough of the preventable medical deaths. And enough of death by incarceration. Enough !!! This level of suffering cannot continue to go on.
Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.
Meanwhile the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles is denying parole at a staggering rate. In May 2020, 160 people were afforded parole hearings. Of those 160, only 15 people made parole according to a new SPLC report. Also according to SPLC, 11 of the 15 were white, while only 4 people granted parole were Black. These four Black people made parole despite the fact that 51% of those up for parole were Black. These numbers reveal yet another example of the systemic racial issues that plague the Bureau of Parole under Charles Graddick.
Many deserving individuals who have served decades in Alabama prisons or who will serve decades more are being denied parole even though they are deserving of freedom. Yesterday, June 4, 2020, according to Beth Shelburne, the Bureau denied 37 out of 38 paroles, including a man who has already served 33 years for 2nd and 3rd degree burglary charges. This is outrageous misconduct and a waste of tax dollars. Arbitrarily denying parole to over 75% of all eligible people reveals systemic issues and an addiction to incarceration and oppression. This Must End !
Moreover, the parole process is a complete sham. There are no objective criteria by which a person is reviewed for parole. No one knows what the Board members consider as evidence of rehabilitation and parole readiness. The person being considered for parole is not even allowed to be present to speak at the hearing or to speak via video. This does not make any sense. It is 2020, where judicial proceedings, visitation and other important business is conducted via video technology; yet the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles conducts their business as if we were still living in 1901..
These outdated practices, outdated ideas, and outdated leaders must go. The time for change is now, and Charlie Graddick Must Go!!!
Enough is Enough !! #WeCantBreatheInADOC, either.
In the past, the “Alabama solution” to these same problems has always been the same: Build more prisons !!! Well, building more prisons has not solved our problem; it has only solved theirs.
Today, we must send a message to Montgomery that we reject their solutions.
No more waiting for a Special Session. No more backwards Bills by Rep. Chris England and the other Prison Reform Study Group members. No more Prison Reform Study Groups. By the time these things come to pass, we will be dead in the Alabama Department of Death.
If you are a family member or support person for someone up for parole on June 23, 24 or 25, please contact us at the information below and provide us with details of accomplishments and any other information that you feel supports your loved one’s release.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT FAM’S QUEEN TEAM NINE DIVINE
If you or your organization would like to be added as a co-sponsor or supporter, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com
TO: GOVERNOR KAY IVEY AND CONCERNED ALABAMA CITIZENS, JUVENILE ADVOCATES AND STATE LEADERS
RE: CHILDREN IN JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITIES DURING THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC: WHERE IS THEIR ADVOCACY AND WHY ISN’T ANYONE DEMANDING THEIR RELEASE??
With each passing day, the clamor about a potential human rights nightmare taking place inside America’s overcrowded prisons and jails grows louder. We are seeing more and more videos emerge from inside these facilities by courageous (and sometimes sick) men and women showing the world that the structure and conditions inside of the human warehouses are tinderboxes for COVID 19. As a result of these images and stories and advocacy, thousands of men and women across the United States have been released, with the promise of more releases to come. Just yesterday, Alabama’s Parole Bureau announced plans to re-start parole review amid mounting pressure from public discontent.Despite these positive, though belated development, the loudest noise emerging from this crisis is the silence that is emanating from the lack of dialogue about the thousands of vulnerable children who are detained in Alabama’s Youth Detention Facilities. Where is their advocacy and why is no one demanding their release ? It’s time to start asking ourselves a few questions:
How many children are currently in the custody of Alabama’s juvenile detention facilities?
What are the conditions that these children are being detained in as it relates to COVID 19?
Are any children at any facility being subjected to a heightened risk of exposure to COVID 19 as a result of their housing/living conditions?
What type of safety precautions are in place to protect these children from COVID 19?
Has Alabama released any children from juvenile detention facilities due to COVID 19? If not, why?
Are these children being provided masks, gloves, soaps, hand sanitizers, and other PPEs?
In this State of Emergency is the media allowed into these facilities to assess the conditions that these children are being house in and to verify any account given by juvenile authorities?
With COVID 19 now having a disproportionate impact on African Americans, what are the demographics and racial make-up of Alabama’s juvenile populations overall and at each facility?
Who is responsible for devising and implementing emergency planning as it relates to children in juvenile detention facilities?
These questions obviously lead into the most important question of them all: Has anyone (staff/judicial official/case worker) who has come into contact with these children tested positive for COVID 19 ?, or has any child tested positive for COVID 19? Indeed, has any testing at all been done? Are temperatures being checked? What protocols are being followed to protect these children?As I said, there is a deafening silence coming from this segment of the COVID 19 prison/jail commentary. When we talk about the most vulnerable people in society to COVID 19, who is more vulnerable than a child? These children lack the mental acumen to fully grasp and comprehend this once-in-a-lifetime type of pandemic. Then, we have to take into account that some of these children suffer from mental health and emotional issues, psychological trauma from being in these facilities that weaken their immune systems, physical disabilities, etc. Are they being allowed phone calls every day to contact their families? Are they in school or has their school been suspended? We have all of these children locked up in these juvenile detention facilities that look and operate just like jails and prisons, yet we aren’t receiving any information on their well-being and we don’t know what the plan is for their safety.We have to keep in mind that these children are not criminals. They have not been convicted of any crime. No, instead, many of them are simply juvenile delinquents and have sentences that range from maybe a few days to less than six months. This is because their delinquent act may have been running away from home. Acting out in school. Shoplifting or stealing a bicycle or car. Etc. You know, the very things that juvenile are apt to do. Some, of course, may have committed more serious offenses, but the issue is, should these delinquent acts now carry a potential COVID 19 death sentence because they so happen to be in a juvenile detention facility when this deadly virus emerged? The answer to that question is, emphatically, no !!! So, the final question is, what should we be doing to #FREEOURCHILDREN?Many of us in FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT have travelled through these juvenile detention facilities in the past on our way to these adult prisons. That is why it is easy for us to notice the silence across the spectrum of conversation when it comes to children in detention. These children, most likely, are living in the same squalor and moral decay that we now find ourselves living in in these adult prisons. In our opinion, which is supported by studies on the school-to-prison pipeline, the juvenile justice system have served as a feeder system for the adult prisons. In fact, many of these facilities don’t prepare these children for a successful re-entry into society; instead, they prepared us for successful entry into the adult prison system, all the way down to the (illegal) free labor. These juvenile facilities are an important part of the overall carcearal eco-system, as the adult prison system depends on these juvenile facilities to keep turning out assets for future capitalization. Thus, we should not only be fighting to save the lives of these children from COVID 19, but in doing so we will also be saving them from a dysfunctional juvenile system that will only serve to prepare them to spend time in an adult prison – namely, the new facilities that Governor Kay Ivey is planning to build.SINCERELY,FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
APRIL 5, 2020 11:00 am FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RE: Deadly conditions inside of Alabama prisons and the need for decisive actions by Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
TO: GOVERNOR KAY IVEY, THE ALABAMA LEGISLATURE AND OTHER STATE LEADERSHIP
Dear Governor Kay Ivey, the Alabama Legislature and ADOC Commissioner Jefferson Dunn:
We are releasing this statement from inside the Alabama prison system on behalf of ourselves, and on behalf of our families and those who are impacted by the Alabama prison system, including the employees and their families. All facilities within the Alabama prison system are facing a new crisis involving Covid-19. Because of the limited information we were provided, we’ve only recently become aware of the two ADOC employees that tested positive for this deadly virus. Meanwhile those of us on the inside, inclusive of less than 20 individuals total, only recently began being tested.
We, our families, the employees, and their families, are fearful for our lives and well-being in the midst of this crisis. We are looking to our state leaders to take actions that reflect (show) value for our lives equally to that of any other human life.
For the past several years, much attention has been paid to the Alabama prison system, but very little has been done to remedy the problems that the prison system is faced with. Now, with COVID-19 looming as a threat projected to kill approx. 250,000, experts, legal professionals, and others, are forecasting catastrophic results for America’s overcrowded prisons.
These pressing issues dictate that it is time for politics to take a backseat and for sound-humanitarian action to be placed in the forefront concerning the lives of those of us who are incarcerated in the Alabama Department of Corrections (as well as those whose lives that are directly or indirectly connected to the prison system).
It is well established that Alabama’s state prisons are severely overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed relative to the overcrowded population and are already dealing with substantial issues. With much of the disaster still ahead of us, we have yet to receive any protective supplies to help combat this deadly virus, and it is well-known that there are few ventilators available in the prison system.
Based on the response that we have seen so far within the ADOC, it is a legitimate question to ask: Do the leaders of this state care about our lives inside of these prisons?? Are we nothing more than commodities being used to fund the canteen and incentive packages, and for the use of our free labor?
On January 26, 2020, Alabama prison Commissioner Jefferson Dunn stated during an interview with the Wall Street Journal the following:
“Our infrastructure was not designed to rehabilitate. It was designed to warehouse.”
Consistent with that statement, one federal judge after another has described Alabama prisons as deplorable and in violation of the basic human rights and moral decency of those incarcerated with the ADOC facilities. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, who is currently presiding over class-action litigation Duke et al., v. Dunn, et al., Civil Action No. 4:14-CV-1952-VEH, (Equal Justice Initiative) concerning Alabama prisons, recently approved a private settlement where over $600,000.00 in attorney fees was paid to attorneys from Equal Justice Initiative finding that systemic overcrowding levels were creating problems that rendered St. Clair prison (and many others) uncontrollable, and that the ADOC must reduce the population of the prison in order to meet the federal constitutional standard.
Already though, this order and private settlement are being reviewed for non-compliance by ADOC. In addition, on April 4, 2019, the US Department of Justice stated that after investigating the ADOC for nearly two years, the conditions of Alabama prisons violate the Eight Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
Furthermore, there are multiple class-action lawsuits pending in federal court concerning these and other conditions, including inadequate mental health care and inadequate medical care; plus an additional 70-plus lawsuits pending against ADOC officers for using excessive force, sexual assault by corrections staff, inhumane conditions of confinement, and for retaliation by ADOC against those individuals who have exposed these conditions inside the prisons. These issues point to clear signs that Alabama’s $600,000,000.00 prison system is out of control and a failed state institution.
Just this past Monday, March 30, 2020, yet another person was killed due to violence inside an Alabama prison. This death is compounded by the fact that in 2019, the Alabama prison system recorded more deaths due to violence than in any year prior. In addition to violent deaths, Alabama’s prison system leads the nation, or ranks near the top, in suicide deaths. Reporter Beth Shelburne recently described the culture inside of ADOC as criminogenic, meaning that it engenders criminal behavior. This is substantiated by the fact that over 70 officers have been fired in the past two years for trafficking drugs into the prisons. Several other officers have been convicted for violating the rights of incarcerated citizens, and last year two individuals (Stephen Davis and Michael Smith) were beaten to death by correctional officers. Both incidents remain under federal investigation.
Despite this grim reality, solutions to these problems have not been forthcoming, and countless people continue to be negatively impacted by this failed institution. Based on current empirical data from how the government has responded to previous conditions in ADOC, we are posing the question: how many of us will be left to die in this COVID-19 pandemic?
In the event of an outbreak, what, exactly is the ADOC’s plan to respond? Why has this plan not been communicated to us? When will testing begin in earnest? Where will we be quarantined? While test results are pending, where will these patients be isolated ? How many ventilators are available? How many nurses are available?
HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF
In 1971, Alabama’s prisons were facing the exact same issues that, like today, lead to class action lawsuits in federal court. As you all know, those federal lawsuits lead to a federal takeover of the Alabama prison system that lasted until 1985, when federal oversight ended. (Newman v. Alabama and Pugh v. Locke, 349 F. Supp. 278 (M.D. Ala. 1972); James v. Wallace, 406 F. Supp. 318 (M.D. Ala. 1974).
The “solutions” offered back in 1971, are the cause of the problems today. Alabama approved a plan to build new prisons – St. Clair CF, now the deadliest prison in the entire United States, being one of them – and for passage of the draconian and oppressive Habitual Felony Offender Act. This law is acutely responsible for the unconstitutional overcrowding that drove the prison system off the cliff today, and lead to excessively long sentences that have produced an aging population of men and women who have served 20, 30, 40 or even 50- plus years consecutively. These men and women are now elderly, in poor health from decades of incarceration, and the most vulnerable to the COVID 19 virus.
Building new prisons back then did not solve those problems, and building new prisons today will not solve these problems. Instead, the prison system has a problem with culture, leadership and with coming to grips with issues of race in the criminal justice system that have yet to be resolved. These cultural and structural issues transferred from the old prisons to the new ones, and that is exactly why the exact same problems exist today. There is a current opioid crisis, a methamphetamine crisis, a synthetic drug crisis, as well as biological diseases like TB and Hepatitis running wild in ADOC. As all of you know, these facts have been confirmed by the April 4, 2019, U. S. Department of Justice Report on Alabama prisons. COVID 19, with its potential to explode on our overcrowded prison population, threatens to bring an unimaginable and unfathomable death toll if we don’t act.
A VIABLE SOLUTION IN THE ALABAMA PRISON LITIGATION REFORM ACT
One option available to us it litigation pursuant to the Alabama Prison Litigation Reform Act, Title 14-15-10, Code of Alabama 1975, which authorizes a judge to issue a release order to address prison conditions where “(1) Crowding is the primary cause of the violation of a right” and “A court has previously entered an order for less intrusive relief that has failed to remedy. ” Failure to act by State leaders will only ensure public shame in the near future for the deliberate, malicious sentence of death imposed upon all the unfortunate who eventually succumb to Covid-19 while incarcerated in facilities that were deemed unconstitutional and uninhabitable long before there ever was a Covid-19 pandemic. (It should be noted here that only around 200 of the 24,000+ people the ADOC houses are under court ordered sentences of death).
A recent poll conducted by the ACLU indicates that 63% percent of taxpayers support releasing people from jails/prisons and 72% support clemency for elderly incarcerated people in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic. Governor Ivey and Alabama Legislatures, a failure to act now to save as many lives as possible, after so many citizens have already expressed approval of release, will extract an additional financial cost on taxpayers in federal court for wrongful and preventable deaths, and will come at a huge political cost during the upcoming election cycle. We will not stand by and be silent and forgiving for such a callous disregard for our lives. The ADOC lacks sufficient ventilators and lacks the necessary space to quarantine off the virus, which convinces us that the plan in place is a plan for COVID 19 to slaughter. It is well-known what will be needed to stave off this virus, and we know that those types of resources don’t exist in these prisons.
As people on the ground who are experiencing this crisis in real time, we offer the foregoing plan in effort to save our own lives and the lives of those who, as a result of their contact with us and ADOC, are affected by the pending COVID 19 crisis in the ADOC.
DETAILED ACTIONS NECESSARY TO SAVE LIVES IN ALABAMA PRISONS:
As an act of compassion and in order to prevent humanitarian catastrophe, Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature should take the following actions immediately:
1. Order medical leave for all employees working within the ADOC who are elderly, having a medical condition that makes them vulnerable to COVID-19, and/or who may be immuno-compromised;
2. Grant compassionate release of all chronic-care, cancer treatment, dialysis, and patients suffering from respiratory issues, who are elderly, disabled, and/or immuno-compromised;
3. End parole revocations that are not based on the commission of new crimes, and release all current technical violators and those incarcerated because of drug addiction, or because of an inability to pay fines or child support obligations.
4. Immediately abolish the Habitual Felony Offender Act, and
5. Immediately release all juvenile in Alabama’s juvenile detention facilities, and anyone serving a sentence after being convicted as a youthful offender, as such sentences only carry a maximum of three years.
6. Release every person fitting the following criteria:
ii. Is under the age of 21 and serving a sentence of 20 years or less
iii. Has served 20 consecutive year or more in prison for a non-capital offense, not involving a child and not a violent sexual predator
iv. Has served 25 years or more for a capital offense
v. Is over the age of 55, has already served 10 years or more, and is especially vulnerable to COVID 19
vi. All individuals already deemed parole-eligible in 2020 and can provide a sufficient home plan, job plan and re-entry plans;
vii. Is currently under deferral after being denied parole over the past 5 years, but was otherwise eligible for parole pending completion of further programming;
viii. Any person currently serving a split-sentence, where the split sentence is for five years or less.
ix. Any person who qualifies for mandatory parole pursuant to Title 15-22-26.2, Code of Alabama 1975, but who hasn’t been released yet.
x. Any person who has already served over 50% of their current sentence.
The failure to act will further expose Alabama taxpayers to civil lawsuits due to the deliberate indifference to human life that would be displayed by a failure to act immediately on the part of Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature.
In addition, Governor Kay Ivey should Order Commissioner Jefferson Dunn to allow all Faith-based Prison Ministries, Civic Organizations, and Volunteers who are already approved to enter into an Alabama prison back into the prison system to assist us by donating, or leading donor drives to receive gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, soap and other protective material recommended by the Alabama Dept. of Public Health and the CDC, in effort to protect and preserve human life as much as possible. Currently, these organizations and people are deemed non-essential, thus their access is being denied. However, anyone following the news in Alabama knows that the Faith communities like Church of the Highlands are, in fact, taking leading roles in combating COVID 19, and are, indeed, essential personnel. To date, those of us incarcerated inside of Alabama prisons and juvenile detention facilities do not have access to such protection, while the corrections and medical staff– who are the ones who will bring the virus into the prisons — have immediate access to these materials.
We implore you, Governor Ivey and the Alabama Legislature, to act swiftly and immediately to all necessary action to reduce our State’s prison population down to no less than design capacity (Alabama’s prisons are currently packed beyond 160% of their design capacity, as a whole, while some prisons exceed 200% or even 300% of design capacity), and to enact legislation abolishing the Habitual Felony Offender Act, which, as this COVID 19 crisis proves, has outlived its purpose and now poses a real and substantial threat to the lives and welfare of thousands of citizens of the State of Alabama.
To continue to employ or incarcerate the above people while the deadly virus spreads through the system would effectively be sentencing too many to death. Moreover, a release of the said people would instantly reduce the ADOC population, thereby meeting the constitutional standard; in effect allowing our humanity to supersede all politics. With the Institute for Health and Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicting that Alabama will have the highest COVID 19 death rate in the U.S., the outcome for those of us left behind in these steel barriers, fences and cages is a foregone conclusion if we don’t act Now !
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
FAM Queen Team Standing In Solidarity
A non-violent and peaceful Civil and Human Rights organization founded inside of the Alabama prison system in 2013.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT P.O. BOX 186 New Market, Ala 35761 (334) 245-0761
(We can be reached inside of the death camps also)
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 NINE DIVINE