The Department of Justice issued a scathing report Thursday finding that Alabama authorities made “frequent uses of excessive force” at 12 of the state’s 13 overcrowded prisons and that conditions in the state’s penitentiaries routinely violate the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. Department of Corrections personnel often used force against inmates who were already restrained or had complied with guards’ orders, according to the report, and in October and December of 2019, two inmates died as a result of officers using excessive force against them. The DOJ has notified Gov. Kay Ivey of its findings.
Among many chilling examples contained in the report, an officer beat a handcuffed man, pushed the inmate’s head into the ground with his foot, and told the nurses present that they “didn’t see anything.” He then lied on an incident report, saying he had never hit the man. During the beating, the guard shouted, “I am the reaper of death, now say my name!” The prisoner begged for death. The DOJ found that “Uses of force happen so regularly in Alabama’s prisons that some officers appear accustomed to that level of violence and consider it normal.” The department made a series of recommendations to the state’s corrections department to immediately institute to reduce the use of force and increase accountability.