Timothy Duncan was killed on Tuesday, his 45th birthday, at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, Alabama. He is the fourth prisoner to be killed at St. Clair in 13 months.
In June, after Jodey Waldrop was killed at St. Clair, EJI called on Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas to remove Carter Davenport as warden of St. Clair and to appoint new leadership to immediately address the facility’s dramatic increase in serious violence.
“There has to be greater accountability for serious increases in violence within state prisons,” said EJI Director Bryan Stevenson. “Unless something is done to change the priorities of institutional leaders, the culture of violence and dysfunction at St. Clair and other facilities with excessive levels of violence, abuse, and misconduct will continue to cost lives and threaten public safety.”
EJI has repeatedly called on ADOC officials to hold prison wardens and correctional staff more accountable for prison violence and has expressly requested some wardens be replaced. No action has yet been taken.
In sharp contrast, the Florida Department of Corrections last week fired 13 prison employees in response to allegations of systemic abuse and failure to punish guards when inmates are harmed. Florida officials dismissed three officers and two sergeants for punching and kicking a prisoner and fired six other staff members for hitting an inmate while his hands and legs were shackled. Another officer was fired for a DUI arrest and another for driving with a suspended license.
Florida prison head Mike Crews announced a zero-tolerance policy for employee misconduct, saying in a statement, “The action we have taken this week makes it clear that we will not tolerate inappropriate behavior or criminal activity by our staff.” He has given the Florida Department of Law Enforcement authority to investigate deaths in Florida prisons.
Reports surfaced this week that the Alabama Department of Corrections has permitted inmates at St. Clair and at Fountain Correctional Facility in Atmore to be treated by doctors who previously were barred from practicing medicine for having sexual contact with their patients, exchanging painkillers for oral sex, and impersonating another doctor in order to fill a phony prescription. The department is facing a lawsuit that charges health care for inmates is inadequate and unconstitutional.