The US Department of Justice filed an amended legal complaint against Alabama and its Department of Corrections for several alleged violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, reported Jurist.
In its complaint, the Department of Justice (DOJ)
claims that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) violates the
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of male prisoners by “failing to prevent
prisoner-on-prisoner violence and sexual abuse, by failing to protect prisoners
from the use of excessive force by security staff, and by failing to provide
safe conditions of confinement.”
According to the original complaint, filed in December 2020, as well as
the amended version, the DOJ began investigating Alabama’s male prisons in
2016. In April 2019, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division notified Alabama state
attorneys of the prisoner violence and sexual abuse violations. The Division
also notified Alabama of the correctional officers’ frequent use of excessive
force in July 2020.
The DOJ stated that Alabama “is deliberately
indifferent to the serious and systemic constitutional problems present” in its
state prisons for men and that “constitutional compliance cannot be secured by
In a statement responding to the amended complaint,
the ADOC stated that while it “was pleased to see the DOJ’s willingness to
reconsider the scope of facilities covered” by the complaint, it was
“disappointed” that the amended complaint did not “acknowledge the substantial
investments and improvements made” by the state. The ADOC also criticized the
DOJ’s use of anecdotal evidence.
Alabama has until June 16 to respond to the DOJ’s
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