Alabama prison cuts meals, suspends visits amid inmate strike

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) — Thousands of inmates in Alabama’s overcrowded prison system are being served only two meals a day during a four-day inmate suspension on Thursday, and authorities have announced a weekend He said the meeting had also been canceled.

Inmates and activists have accused the Department of Corrections of using pressure tactics to end the demonstrations, but officials said cut rations and lack of visits were a result of prison labor shortages. .

The ministry said prisoners provide much of the workforce in prisons, so confinement eliminated one of the three meals normally provided to make up for labor shortages.

“While this is not a retaliatory measure, it is a logistical necessity to ensure that other essential services are delivered,” the ministry said in a statement.

Most of the large men’s prisons have been affected by Thursday’s strike, and visits this weekend have been canceled due to the suspension and the impact on prison staff, according to the bureau.

“Inmates have been notified and are encouraged to notify visitors,” the agency said.

Photos posted on social media showed brown bag meals consisting of corn dogs or peanut butter sandwiches. The prison system said it would return to normal meal service once the strike ended, but it was not clear how long that would take.

Governor Kay Ivey has rejected calls for criminal justice reform, including changes to sentencing laws for repeat offenders, as unreasonable.

Alabama prisons held more than 20,000 inmates in July. That’s even though he was designed for only 12,115 when the Department of Corrections released its latest statistical report. The department operates 13 major prisons for men, the largest of which holds more than 2,200 men and one for women.

The Justice Department is suing the state of Alabama over its prison conditions, saying the state has failed to protect male inmates from inmate violence and excessive force by prison staff.

The 2020 lawsuit alleges that conditions in the prison system were so poor that they violated constitutional prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment, and that state officials were “willfully indifferent” to the matter. Alabama officials acknowledge the problem but deny that the living conditions violate constitutional standards.