Ala. prison system reports work stoppage after group calls for inmate strike

The organization Both Sides of the Wall called for the strike Mon. morning to address reforms to Alabama’s sentencing and parole laws


By Mike Cason
al.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Department of Corrections said it has received reports of an inmate work stoppage at all the major prisons in the state after a prison reform organization called for a strike.

The organization Both Sides of the Wall called for the strike beginning this morning.

From left, Barbara Gilmer, Marquetta London, and Diyawn Caldwell at a
From left, Barbara Gilmer, Marquetta London, and Diyawn Caldwell at a "Break the Chains" rally for prison reform in Montgomery on Sept. 26, 2022. (Mike Cason/mcason@al.com) (Mike Cason)

The ADOC said it is controlling the movement of inmates and has deployed other security measures. The ADOC said it does not comment on security procedures because of the safety of inmates, staff, and the public.

“All facilities are operational and there have been no disruption of critical services,” ADOC Commissioner John Hamm said in a statement.

Both Sides of the Wall held a rally outside the ADOC offices in Montgomery this morning. About 80 people attended the event. Speakers called for reforms to Alabama’s sentencing and parole laws. The group, which included former inmates and family members of inmates, called for improvements to conditions in prison and medical care.

“Take care of them while they’re in there,” said Marquetta London of Montgomery, who said she has two nephews in prison. “They’re not taking care of those prisoners like they should. They’re just not doing it.”

Speakers talked about the plight of inmate Kastellio Vaughan, whose sister posted photos on Facebook that show him emaciated. A civil rights lawyer hired by the family said Vaughan’s condition has deteriorated since he underwent surgery in August to remove a portion of his intestines as a result of gunshot injuries sustained prior to his incarceration.

The ADOC released a statement Saturday saying that Vaughan has received appropriate medical care. The ADOC said Vaughan has requested and received medical attention at least 11 times between July 30 and Sept. 22, including major surgery and a stay of at least 17 days in an an outside hospital.

The U.S. Department of Justice has alleged that conditions in Alabama’s prisons violate the constitutional rights of the incarcerated men because of inmate-on-inmate violence and sexual abuse, excessive use of force by staff, and a failure to provide safe physical conditions. The state has acknowledged problems in its prisons but disputes the allegation that conditions violate the constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

This story will be updated.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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