EJI has received reports that another man has been killed in an Alabama state prison. According to multiple reports, Moses Knight, a 67-year-old Black man with minimum custody status, died on Monday from blunt force injuries sustained in an assault at Bullock Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in Union Springs, Alabama. Mr. Knight became eligible for parole in March, but was waiting for a hearing that was never scheduled.
Mr. Knight is the 15th person murdered in an Alabama prison since the U.S. Department of Justice informed Alabama officials last year that the state’s prison system “routinely violates the constitutional rights of prisoners” by failing to protect them from rampant violence and sexual abuse.
Twelve of the last 15 homicides (80%) have happened at medium-security facilities like Bullock, which have experienced skyrocketing levels of violence, including homicides, stabbings, and sexual assaults, over the past five years. Last year, the rate of assaults on people incarcerated at Bullock was 110 assaults per 1,000 prisoners. This is nearly double the rate of Alabama prisons as a whole (70 per 1,000) and vastly exceeds reported averages from other states and the federal system.
As a result of suicides, homicides, Covid-19 cases, and inadequacies in health services, death rates in Alabama’s prisons have skyrocketed in recent months.
The homicide rate in Alabama prisons is unparalleled in the U.S. prison system. Nationwide, the homicide rate in state prisons in 2016 was 8 per 100,000 prisoners. The 2019 homicide rate in Alabama prisons reached 76 per 100,000 prisoners—more than nine times the national rate.
In a review of deaths in Alabama’s prisons over the last two months, EJI found that many deaths in custody go unreported. EJI identified 27 deaths of people in Alabama Department of Corrections custody between April 1 and June 1. ADOC has issued public statements acknowledging only 16 of those deaths to date.