Two Homicides and Suicide at Alabama’s St. Clair Prison in Past Month


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EJI received multiple reports that Terrance Guyton, 56, died in the early hours of May 31 after suffering an assault in his cell at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, Alabama.

According to the reports, Mr. Guyton was beaten and choked to death inside his cell. Investigation of the body by the coroner reportedly documented at least one stab wound, and Mr. Guyton’s face was covered with bruises.

Mr. Guyton’s death comes after Jamal McCain, 37, was stabbed to death in a cell at St. Clair on May 15.

EJI also received multiple reports that Steven Seay, 34, died by suicide on Sunday while in a solitary confinement cell at St. Clair.

Mr. Seay was on mental health watch, but shortly before his death he was moved from a crisis cell—where he should not have been able to harm himself—to solitary confinement.

The Justice Department sued Alabama in 2020 after its investigation revealed a “pervasive pattern of life-threatening violence” in the state’s prisons that was exacerbated by prison officials’ failure to prevent the flow of dangerous contraband, a lack of adequate supervision, and staff indifference to the risk of harm.

But despite the ongoing lawsuit, conditions have not improved at St. Clair.

Instead, Alabama’s prisons continue to experience record high levels of fatal violence and mortality.

In 2022, 274 people died in Alabama’s prisons—the most on record in a calendar year for Alabama, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

At least 19 of these deaths were homicides.

According to reports from the Alabama Department of Corrections, nearly one in three deaths (85 out of 274) in Alabama’s prisons in 2022 were due to homicide, suicide, or fatal drug overdose. That’s seven times higher than the most recently reported rate for the state as a whole.

Despite the crisis, Alabama state officials have not announced any plans to reduce deaths in custody.