Feds say Alabama prison guards abuse male inmates with ‘excessive force’

Published 2:02 pm Thursday, July 23, 2020

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that it believes Alabama’s prisons for men are unconstitutional because inmates are subjected to excessive force at the hands of prison staff.

The Justice Department announced the finding in a news release, the second time it has accused the state prison system of housing male inmates in unconstitutional conditions.

The department said Thursday that it concluded there is reasonable cause to believe that prisoners are subjected to excessive force.

“Our investigation found reasonable cause to believe that there is a pattern or practice of using excessive force against prisoners in Alabama’s prisons for men,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office was expected to issue a response later Thursday.

Dreiband said the Justice Department hopes to work with Alabama to resolve the department’s concerns.

“The results of the investigation into excessive force issues within Alabama’s prisons is distressing and continues to require real and immediate attention,” said Louis Franklin, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.

It is the second time in less than 18 months that federal officials have accused Alabama of violating the constitutional rights of inmates. In the spring of 2019, the department said male inmates face excessive inmate-on-inmate violence and sexual abuse in facilities that are not sanitary, safe, or secure. The department is in negotiations with the state in an attempt to reach an agreement.