Hidden Truths About the Alabama Department of Corrections

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Unheard Voices O.T.C.J.

Nikki Davenport
FAM Queen Team

Mei Azaad

Recently you may have read articles about Alabama’s prisons that were published by networks such as USA Today, Times Magazine or others.  If so, you probably read where the Alabama Department of Corrections attempted to hinder the Department of Justice investigation of ADOC that was launched in October of 2016, and where the Department of Justice declared that ADOC had deliberately attempted to write off three homicides within the ADOC as deaths by “natural causes”.  This may come as a shock to you, but it’s a horrific reality to the tens of thousands of men confined behind what is being called the “most dangerous” prison system in the nation.

Yes, it may be a fact that Alabama has the highest homicide rate in America, as well as the highest suicide rate.  But what is hidden–what has not been reported– are the root causes behind those statistics. Could it be that the very things that Commissioner Jefferson Dunn and others in ADOC are keeping secret and covering up contribute to these facts?  And why is it that you, the taxpayer, have refused to believe brothers like Swift Justice and Kinetik Justice that these things occur on a daily basis?

Let’s take a look at a perfect example of an injustice that occurs without notice of the public due to the fact that ADOC is not held accountable:

On March 25, 2019, a confined citizen by the name of Christopher Caldwell was taken from Decatur Work Release Center to Limestone Correctional Facility where he would be forced to live a five day nightmare of torture and abuse.

Limestone Correctional Facility is the home of the infamous Captain Patrick Robinson, who over many years of no oversight has created, practiced, and implemented many policies that blatantly disregard the constitutional rights of those unfortunate enough to traverse the back gate of Limestone.  Many of these policies are so horrific that few employed agree to carry out or participate in the acts. Now you may ask: if these acts are so horrific why is it that those who refuse to practice or participate also do not report what’s going on behind what has become known as the “Iron Curtain” of ADOC?  That is a good question.

Image result for limestone correctional facility alabama

On March 25th, 2019, once Caldwell crossed the back gate at Limestone, he was subjected to a thorough property and body cavity search, a metal detector, and drug dogs.  After that he was placed in solitary where he again was subjected to another body cavity and property search. Once this was completed, Sergeant Lovett, officers Rollette and Johnson placed him in leg shackles, belly chain, and handcuffs.  They then proceeded to tape Caldwell’s pant legs, the waist band of his pants, and his shirt sleeves in order to prevent any object from entering or falling from inside his clothing. Then his hands were attached to a metal ring in the center of the belly chain preventing him from lifting his hands higher than waist level.  Caldwell was then instructed by Lovett that he would remain in these restraints and taped until he “shit” six times. ADOC calls this practice “shitting in the bucket” allegedly ensuring the retrieval of contraband from a prisoner’s rectum.

Caldwell was then placed in a cell that had no running water (a dry cell) by himself and without the means to freely move around, urinate, eat, drink, or do normal human basic necessities.  Caldwell was left in this cell for five days where he was not allowed to shower, even after he was forced to urinate on himself on more than one occasion.

Caldwell on numerous occasions attempted to get help from correctional officers on duty when needing to relieve himself but his pleas for help were either ignored or answered with threats to spray him with mace.

Caldwell is by no means the only one to have endured this experience.  Daniel Bolden AIS #254848 was another of many who lived this nightmare.  Bolden told us that the two main things he can not erase from his mind is the fact that he had to eat his food like a dog because he could not feed himself due to being handcuffed, and the fact he had to lay in his own feces and urine for hours.

Limestone Correctional Facility is known for its unimaginable torture and dehumanizing tactics. This is the very prison that was declared to be violating the Eighth Amendment rights of confined citizens years ago when the Federal Courts said the use of the “hitching post” was unconstitutional in Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730 (2002).  The “hitching post” at that time was used as a punishment where men were handcuffed to a pole for hours without water or the ability to use the restroom. Now, today, Limestone is reinventing the “hitching post” and calling it the “bucket detail.”

Now, why is the “bucket detail” being used, what is its purpose and what does it accomplish?

We anticipate ADOC to defend the use of this horrific tactic by saying “we are preventing drugs from entering the prison”. We in return would rebut that by showing how this is simply an excuse used in order to perform a sadistic act.  Christopher Caldwell had no history of drug use or drug smuggling in the ADOC, so what prompted ADOC to force him to be dehumanized with the “bucket detail” torture tactic? And even if he had been suspected of smuggling drugs, where is the logic in utilizing such tactics as full body restraints, duct tape, starvation, denial of showers, toilets, water, and basic hygiene?  Is ADOC claiming there are no other humane ways to monitor and prevent drug smuggling?

In Hope v. Pelzer, the “hitching post” tactic as a form of punishment was considered by the Federal Courts to be “unnecessarily and wantonly inflicting pain,” and was thus a clear 8th Amendment violation.  The so-called “bucket detail” offends contemporary concepts of decency, human dignity, and precepts of civilization which the American people profess to possess. In essence, the methods employed offend a sense of justice.

This in itself is only one story of what one man endured.  However, more have come forward with the same horrible details, such as Kenneth S. Traywick #177252, and Daniel Bolden #254848.  Many others have admitted to being done this way but express fear of retaliation if they come forward.




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