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Tag: Alabama

Justice Department to Investigate Conditions at Prisons in Alabama

jail2photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department plans to investigate conditions at Alabama’s prisons for men following a work strike by guards.

“The investigation will focus on whether prisoners are adequately protected from physical harm and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners; whether prisoners are adequately protected from use of excessive force and staff sexual abuse by correctional officers; and whether the prisons provide sanitary, secure and safe living conditions,” the DOJ said in its statement.

A week ago, guards at W.C. Holman Correctional Facility staged a work strike to call attention to prison overcrowding and safety issues, the Root reports. http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/10/justice-department-investigates-alabama-prison-conditions/

Robert Council, a 42-year-old serving life without parole at Holman, said prisoners are almost always on lockdown and not allowed out of their cells for months.

“The Constitution requires that prisons provide humane conditions of confinement,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “We hope to work cooperatively with the state of Alabama in conducting our inquiry and ensuring that the state’s facilities keep prisoners safe from harm.”

ATF Recovers Two Dozen Homemade Hand Grenades in Alabama Factory

atf badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF recovered 24 homemade hand grenades from a factory in a residential neighborhood near Birmingham, Ala.

AL.com reports that the grenades pose a grave danger, not only because grenades are destructive, but because they were made with faulty fuses and live explosives.

“We’re not sure exactly how many are out there yet,” said David Hyche, ATF’s assistant special agent in charge in Alabama. “We know we recovered 24 that were in the process of being made. We know that hand grenades had been sold in the City of Birmingham to an illegal alien drug trafficker. So if they’ll be sold to that guy, they’ll be sold to anybody.”

Hyche said the grenades were seriously flawed.

“Homemade fuses most likely, at best, will have no delay, and, at worst, will go off when you don’t want them to,” he said. “The kill radius on a hand grenade is about 10 meters, or 30 feet.”

FBI Closes 1964 Civil Rights Case with No Charges Against Former Sheriff’s Deputy

fbi-logBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For more than 50 years, Frank Andrews’s family never got justice.

He was shot and killed by an Alabama sheriff’s deputy in 1964 outside of a house known for selling illegal alcohol.

Now the FBI has closed the case and decided against charging the former deputy, Quinnie Donald, The Associated Press reports. 

The FBI determined no charges were warranted.

“I’m proud that they closed it, but I don’t like bringing it up,” Donald said quietly during an interview at his home earlier this month. “I regret that it happened.”

Donald said he was using an unfamiliar pistol and that it fired at the slightest touch when he said he saw Andrews reach for his pocket as if he were trying to pull a knife, the AP wrote.

The Justice Department reopened the case in 2008 but federal agents were never able to gather enough evidence.

Terrorism Threats in Alabama? It Can Happen Anywhere in Age of ISIS

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The attack on a military camp in Chattanooga was a stark reminder that not even America’s rural areas are safe from terrorist attacks.

It’s why every FBI field office nationwide has a joint terrorism task force, reports ABC 30.

To combat the threat in Alabama, Chris Hoffman, Supervisory Special Agent for the Birmingham Field Office, said no place in America is immune to an attack, and it takes vigilance to monitor and prevent an atrocity.

“The threat of terrorism is growing in the homeland, it’s an unfortunate time, but it’s a fact,” Hoffman said.

“There are ISIS investigations in every state in the United States,” Hoffman said. “Alabama has been touched by that, there’s been recent news stories about persons who have traveled from Alabama, females particularly to Syria. We also have domestic terrorism events. We have a long history here unfortunately.”

For more information on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, click here. 

Help on Way for Alabama Prison Where Female Inmates Raped, Beaten

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has reached an agreement with the state of Alabama to undergo monitoring and serious reforms following years of complaints about female inmates being sexually assaulted by corrections staff, the Washington Post reports.

An investigation by the Justice Department found that female inmates lived in a “toxic environment” at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala., where they have been raped and sodomized.

Prison officials even organized a “strip show” with female prisoners and watched the women use the toilet

Women who complained of the abuse were punished, according to the Justice Department

“Prisoners are entitled to be safe from sexual predation by staff, and to live in an environment free from sexual assault, sexual harassment and the constant fear of these abuses,” said Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The agreement requires the prison to install a “state-of-the-art camera system,” train staff and implement a program to track and analyze complaints.

Other Stories of Interest


Secret Service Scare: Fire Prompts Lock-Down at White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama and the first family were just about to leave for Selma, Alabama, this weekend when a fire broke out outside the White House, prompting a lock-down by Secret Service agents, WHAS 11 ABC reports.

The fire was at a vendor cart east of the North Lawn, causing no injuries.

Additionally, a K-9 tracked down a car on 16th and Constitution, but authorities did not divulge any more information.

President Obama was delayed by about an hour, the Secret Service said.

Defendants in Dog Fighting Ring Get One of Nation’s Longest Sentences for Actions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Defendants in one of the largest dog fighting busts in U.S. history received some of the stiffest prison sentences ever issued for a dog-fighting ring, the Washington Times reports.

The Alabama dog fighting ring involved more than 350 dogs.

“These dogs lived in deplorable conditions that constituted extraordinary cruelty,” said George Beck Jr., U.S. Attorney for the middle district of Alabama. “They were made to fight and if they lost, they were killed.”

The defendants received sentences ranging from six to eight months.

“This is truly a landmark case for the animal welfare community,” said Tim Rickey, vice president of Field Investigations and Response for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The defendants also were found to be in possession of large amounts of drugs and illegal weapons.

Law Firm: Alabama Prison System Rife with Abuse, Should be Investigated by DOJ

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Widespread corruption, misconduct and abusive behavior were found in Alabama’s prison system following a six-month investigation by a nonprofit law firm.

Now the firm, the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative, is urging the Justice Department to conduct a formal investigation, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.

Alleging extreme violence, security problems and a culture of fear at the prisons, the firm filed a lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Corrections last month.

EJI Director Bryan Stevenson said the problems are widespread and won’t change until the Justice Department gets involved.

“It’s not adequate to say we don’t have the money to do better,” Stevenson said. “A lot of these problems reflect cultural problems, leadership problems and management problems that don’t directly relate to the budget.”