Southern Poverty Law Center


Advocacy groups say Alabama prisons are giving inmates virtually unlimited access to razors, a practice that's leading to deaths and injuries inside the lockups.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program asked a court Thursday to bar prisons from freely distributing razor blades to male inmates.

The groups are making the request on behalf of prisoners who've tried to kill themselves using the razors. They say razors are being distributed even after an inmate used one to kill himself at Limestone prison in 2011.

The city of Montgomery is settling lawsuits that accuse it of wrongfully jailing people who can't pay fines.

The Southern Poverty Law Center represents two people involved in the suits and calls the agreement a victory for low-income residents.

The settlement results from lawsuits filed by people who were jailed for accumulating thousands of dollars of unpaid court fines and fees. The suit claims the practice of jailing debtors violates a past Supreme Court ruling.

Court documents show the city will review all cases and follow Supreme Court decisions on the issue.

Jason Comely / Flickr

A state judge has thrown out a lawsuit from payday lenders looking to challenge regulations requiring a central database to track payday loans.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports a Montgomery judge ruled that the State Banking Department didn't exceed its authority last year by ordering a $500 cap on payday loans and a database to make sure consumers didn't have multiple loans out for more than that amount at one time.

The Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama's school superintendent is telling all Alabama public school systems to start using a new student enrollment process that makes clear a Social Security number or birth certificate is not necessary for enrollment.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is taking its legal challenge of the Alabama Accountability Act to a federal appeals court.

The Montgomery-based group has asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review a federal judge's decision rejecting the law center's challenge of the state law.


Two advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against the Alabama prison system, claiming the state is failing to provide basic medical and mental health care to inmates.

Attorney Maria Morris of the Southern Poverty Law Center says a lack of adequate medical care is causing inmate suffering and even deaths.

The SPLC and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Center filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Montgomery on behalf of about 40 inmates.

Office of the Governor of Alabama

Alabama Department of Corrections officials are refuting a report by a human rights organization that criticizes health care in state prisons.

Department Commissioner Kim Thomas said in a statement Wednesday the state is proud of the health care it offers inmates and that care provided in state institutions is better than what's available to most uninsured Alabamians.

A report by the Southern Poverty Law Center said the state fails to give inmates a humane level of medical care and disabled prisoners face discrimination.

The Governor's Office

Gov. Robert Bentley has announced an attempt to overhaul the state's severely overcrowded prison system.

Bentley said Tuesday the state's prisons are filled to nearly twice their collective capacity. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a partnership between the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Department of Justice, will examine the system and suggest reforms.

The review comes after a series of stark criticisms. The Department of Justice has called conditions unconstitutional at Alabama's only prison for women.

Florida Atlantic University

Alabama has agreed to pay another $230,000 to civil rights groups that sued over Alabama's immigration law.

The agreement announced Monday brings the total paid by the state government to $580,000. Monday's agreement stemmed from a 2011 suit over a portion of the law that barred business transactions between the state and anyone who could not prove citizenship. The law prevented some people from renewing their mobile home registration tags, but the suit ended the enforcement of that aspect of the law.

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging an Alabama immigration law that requires state officials to post on the Internet the names of people living in the state illegally who have run-ins with the law.

The so-called "scarlet letter list" was part of Alabama's second immigration law that the Legislature enacted in 2012. The Southern Poverty Law Center and others challenged it in federal court on behalf of four residents from Mexico who got arrested for fishing without a state license.

Southern Poverty Law Center

An Alabama group that monitors radical organizations says right-wing extremism is on the decline in the United States.

The liberal Southern Poverty Law Center says the number of hate groups dropped for the second year in a row in 2013, falling 7 percent to 939 last year.

The Montgomery-based legal agency says anti-government "Patriot" groups declined even more. It identifies 1,096 such organizations in the United States, down 19 percent from a year earlier.


A federal judge says he will rule quickly on whether to throw out a lawsuit challenging Alabama's new tax credits for families that move their children from failing public schools.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins on Monday heard from attorneys for the Southern Poverty law Center, which has sued on behalf of eight children in poor, rural counties. He also heard from the attorney general's office, which wants the suit against the governor and other state officials dismissed.

Alabama's attorney general is telling a federal judge that blocking the new Alabama Accountability Act won't help students in failing public schools.

Attorney General Luther Strange is trying to get U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of eight students in failing schools.

The suit challenges the law on equal protection grounds, saying the law's transfer provisions aren't open to the students because there aren't any non-failing public schools or private schools nearby that will accept transfers.

Alabama School Readiness Alliance

State attorneys are asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center seeking to block a new state law allowing students to transfer from failing schools.

The state attorney general's staff filed papers saying the plaintiffs lacked legal standing and failed to state a valid equal protection claim. In an order Monday, U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins set a schedule for each side to file briefs, with the last brief due on Oct. 21.

Maggie Martin/APR News

State lawmakers and education officials have filed a state lawsuit to have the Alabama Accountability Act ruled unconstitutional.

   The Montgomery Advertiser reported Wednesday ( that the suit was filed on behalf of Democratic state Sen. Quinton Ross of Montgomery, Lowndes County schools Superintendent Daniel Boyd and Alabama Education Association president Anita Gibson.