US Justice Department threatens to sue Alabama over prisoner safety

“The violations are severe, systemic, and exacerbated by serious deficiencies in staffing and supervision,” the report said. It also cited “the use of segregation and solitary confinement to both punish and protect victims of violence and/or sexual abuse; and a high level of violence that is too common, cruel, of an unusual nature, and pervasive.”

The Justice Department is still investigating excessive force and sexual abuse by prison staff members, an investigation that former federal prosecutors say could lead to criminal indictments.

The department concluded that the Alabama prison system did not protect prisoners from physical and sexual violence at the hands of other prisoners.

In a single week, the department detailed a horrific list of abuses that included instances of multiple stabbings, prisoners attacking a sleeping man with socks filled with metal locks and a prisoner being forced to perform oral sex at knifepoint.

The department also concluded that the system does not provide “safe and sanitary” living conditions. Open sewage ran by the pathway that government attorneys used to access one facility, which the state closed soon after the inspectors visited.



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