Jeff Dunn

The commissioner of Alabama’s Department of Corrections took the stand yesterday in an ongoing trial regarding mental health care for state inmates.

Back in June, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled that the care available to Alabama state inmates was “horrendously inadequate” and constituted cruel and unusual punishment. This phase of proceedings is all about how the Department of Corrections plans to fix those issues.

Alabama’s prison system is on trial once again starting today.

The next phase of hearings regarding health and mental health care for Alabama state inmates begins today in Montgomery. Back in June, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled the system was “horrendously inadequate” and had to change. These hearings are all about how Alabama’s Department of Corrections plans to make those changes.

Last night, the state of Alabama put a man to death who was convicted of murdering a police officer and also in the process of suing the state over its lethal injection methods.

Another Alabama inmate was found stabbed in a state prison yard earlier this week.

Officials with the Alabama Department of Corrections say Timothy Robertson was fatally stabbed Tuesday night. Robertson is the third prisoner to be killed at Elmore Correctional Facility this year. Another inmate, whose identity has not yet been released, will be charged with Robertson’s murder.

Robertson’s death is the fourth killing of an Alabama prisoner this year, and six correctional officers have been injured in assaults at state prisons so far this year.

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.

Conditions in Alabama’s state prisons are poor. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating possible constitutional violations, and the Alabama Department of Corrections is on trial for allegedly not providing adequate health care to inmates. It’s bad enough that the state is having trouble keeping correctional officers employed.

The number of correctional officers assigned to Alabama’s state prisons fell twenty percent this past year, from just over 2000 in September 2015 to 1627 last September, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Dunn says uprisings, death show need for new prisons

Nov 29, 2016

The state prison commissioner says outbreaks of violence, including the stabbing death of a corrections officer last month, illustrate the need for new state prisons

Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn made the remarks Tuesday as he briefed legislators on the governor's $800 million prison construction proposal. Dunn said the situation in state prisons has become urgent.

The proposal calls for the construction of three super-sized prisons for men and one for women. Most existing prisons would close.