Alabama Prison Crisis Continues with Another Homicide


The Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed on Tuesday that another man was killed in a state prison. At least seven people living in ADOC custody have been killed since January.

Terry Jones, 46, died on March 1 after he was stabbed in a dormitory at Easterling Correctional Facility in Clio, Alabama.

He had served nearly 15 years of a 20-year sentence for burglary. Although he had minimum custody status and was eligible to live in a lower-risk facility, he was transferred to Easterling less than a week before he was killed.

EJI received multiple reports that Mr. Jones was killed in an open-bay dormitory when no officers were present. The assault reportedly went unnoticed because of the lack of supervision, and several hours passed before Mr. Jones received any medical attention.

Mr. Jones is one of four homicide victims in an eight-day period starting on February 22, when 33-year-old Barry Gardner was stabbed to death in a dormitory at Donaldson Correctional Facility. Two days later, Victor Russo, 60, died from “apparent blunt force trauma” injuries after he was repeatedly hit in the head by a senior correctional officer at Donaldson. On March 1, Mr. Jones was killed at Easterling and the next day William Jennings, 49, was beaten to death in a cell at the same prison.

Deadly violence has continued unabated and unaddressed, leading federal prosecutors to sue ADOC over its failure to remedy unconstitutionally dangerous and abusive conditions in the state’s prisons.

It has been a little more than three years since the Justice Department put the state on notice of the urgent need to address the “deficient supervision” that it found led to “hundreds of grave injuries to prisoners that were inflicted out of the sight of ADOC correctional officers.”

ADOC has made no significant changes to address what federal prosecutors described as a “systemic failure in its duty to provide humane conditions of confinement and to take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates.”

Mr. Jones’s killing could have been prevented if only ADOC had taken meaningful measures to correct the “deficient supervision” that federal investigators identified as a crisis in 2019. Instead, Mr. Jones became one of at least 71 incarcerated people who have died in Alabama’s prisons since the federal investigation began.