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[Related story: Alabama's Bullock Mental Health Facility is the most violent prison in state's system]
In August 2010, Alabama prison officials installed a system that keeps better track of any assaults or fights that occur. "We do realize that we have to make sure that the figures we gather are validated and accurate," Thomas said. "We want to make sure we accurately report those to the public."
In the 2010 11 year, the Department of Corrections reported no homicides. But it counted 1,397 fights and nonsexual assaults, up from 1,000 the previous year. In addition to an almost 40 percent increase in inmate on inmate violence, assaults leading to serious injury doubled, rising from 47 to 95.
Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale).
Three inmates have been killed in Alabama prisons since this budget year began in October. In the four previous years, prisons had reported, at most, one homicide.
Between April 2008 and April 2009, the Department of Corrections' public reports listed only one assault with serious injury at Donaldson. Internal records showed at least 16 Donaldson inmates were taken to outside hospitals during that time for treatment of serious injuries. Among other things, assaults had left two of the inmates with collapsed lungs, another vomiting and urinating blood, and another blind in one eye, according to court documents.
"We may have to put it very, very close to a line I'm not comfortable with," Thomas said.
"It's gotten much worse in the last two or three years," said Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit that represents prisoners. "I've been hearing from folks that it's gotten impossible to get into honors dorms because everybody and his cousin is trying to get in."Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas said the department's goal is to prevent as many assaults and fights as possible. But violence is an ongoing challenge, he acknowledges, and one that is made more difficult by having too many inmates and too few officers. That problem is likely to get worse in the coming year.
the dangers faced by inmates. It's a suspicion that has been borne out in the past.
The Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta filed suit in 2009, claiming inmates at Donaldson Correctional Facility in west Jefferson County were at risk of harm because of crowding, short staffing and pervasive violence contentions backed by correctional officers.
As a result of the suit, the Southern Center discovered the state's public reports about inmate attacks routinely did not match the prison's internal records.
Already, violence is commonplace in Alabama's prisons, and not just in the facilities housing what are considered the most hardened criminals. In 2010 and 2011, the highest rates of inmate on inmate violence and the highest rates of assaults causing serious injuries were in medium security prisons, according to a Birmingham News analysis of prison reports.
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama Violence has become a growing concern in Alabama's prisons, an analysis of incident data shows, and prison officials and other Adidas Basketball Shoes 2017 For Men
The Department of Corrections' budget for next year already has been cut $16 million, Adidas D Rose 4 Shop
experts fear it could become an even bigger problem next year when the system's overpopulated facilities will be operated on even less money.
Prison officials say that's a result of better record keeping. But people who work closely with inmates say the threat is real, leading some prisoners to arm themselves in defense and others to clamor for safer cell space.
Alabama prison violence rising in overcrowded system
Stevenson and others representing prisoners believe the state's official counts underestimate D Rose 7 Primeknit Black
and there is a potential for an additional $35 million cut, which would Black Red Adidas Basketball Shoes mean a "dynamically different prison system," Thomas said.
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