Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn

SPLC

Alabama prison officials say they're increasing mental health staffing following a court order on the lack of treatment for inmates. This issue figured prominently in the APR news team's national award-winning investigation of Alabama's prison system. After our coverage aired, the case was granted class action status and the ruling later rendered. Click below to hear these stories again...

St. Clair Prison
Equal Justice Initiative

The lawmaker sponsoring Gov. Robert Bentley's $800 million prison construction plan says the bill will most likely be scaled down before heading to a committee vote next week.

Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster says the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote next Tuesday on a smaller version. He says senators are currently working out the bill's specifics.

Bentley was seeking to build four new prisons. Ward says the new proposal will still be substantial.

Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told lawmakers the "risk" in Alabama's crowding prisons is growing each day.

Dunn addressed the legislative judiciary committees Wednesday as the Bentley administration tries to build support for an $800 million prison construction bond issue.

Tutwiler Prison
Dave Martin / AP

The Alabama Department of Corrections has agreed to put new suicide prevention measures in place after an inmate killed himself days after testifying on alleged inadequate mental health care in state prisons.

Alabama death row inmate Ronald Bert Smith was executed last night for the 1994 killing of a Huntsville man.

But the way he died may lend additional support to those attempting to outlaw the use of the sedative midazolam in a three-drug lethal injection cocktail. During the 34-minute execution last night at Holman Correctional Facility, Smith reportedly coughed and heaved for nearly 15 minutes.

UTC engine
United Technologies Corporation

Today is the last day of the 2016 legislative session, and the last chance for lawmakers to decide the fate of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's $800 million prison construction proposal.

A conference committee will meet later today to try and reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

Bentley is seeking to borrow $800 million to build three new prisons for men — housing up to 4,000 inmates each — and one new women's prison. Most existing state prison facilities would close.

Christopher Brooks
Alabama Department of Corrections

The state of Alabama executed Christopher Brooks last night for the 1992 rape and murder of Deann Campbell.

The execution was the state’s first in more than two years and the first to be carried out in Alabama using the controversial new sedative midazolam. Some say midazolam carries a high risk of botched executions, and there is currently a pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Alabama’s lethal injection procedure.

But Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn says last night’s execution went “exactly as planned”.

The federal government is charging a major Hyundai automotive supplier in Selma for threatening to fire employees and close the plant to keep workers from unionizing.

Lear Corporation is a Fortune 500 company that owns a car seat manufacturing plant in Selma. National Labor Relations Board regulators accused the company of intimidating employees for trying to unionize. Workers say one of their main complaints is stagnant wages; many employees have been with Lear for decades and still make little more than $10 an hour.