LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Family members of those incarcerated in the Limestone Correctional Facility are pleading for safer conditions for their loved ones.
The Limestone County NAACP is asking the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) for more transparency and accountability when it comes to inmate safety.
Tammy Williams and Sybrenna Harris both have family members inside Limestone Correctional. They describe the living conditions as unsafe and inhumane.
“You have 350 inmates in one block, and there’s no air-conditioning there,” Harris said.
Harris says the cells where inmates spend the majority of their day do not have air-conditioning. She says, in some areas, several inmates share a fan. In addition, those inside the facility are not receiving three meals a day.
“They need three meals a day just like the people on the outside. They’re not getting that.”
Williams’ brother is currently in the Limestone Correctional Facility. She says he was attacked twice in March of 2021. During the second assault, she says he was stabbed more than 25 times, resulting in a punctured lung. Her family was never notified by the correctional facility, instead, she says they heard about the incident from another inmate.
“You know what they told me when I called and spoke to the warden and the warden assistant?” Williams asked. “Oh, you only get notified if your loved one dies.”
After being released from the hospital, she says her brother received no aftercare.
“His lung never did heal, so he has shortness of breath. He has nightmares. He has issues with his legs.”
Williams said her brother still has trouble walking further than a short distance. She has reached out to Governor Ivey and several other Alabama state leaders looking for immediate action.
“That’s the whole thing,” Williams said. “We need now solutions.”
The Limestone County NAACP has sent a letter with these complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“We’re calling on the state of Alabama and the DOJ to further investigate and make sure that everyone who is in these Alabama Department of Corrections facilities is safe,” said Limestone County NAACP President Wilbert Woodruff.
Alabama NAACP President Benard Simelton says inadequate prison conditions is a problem in facilities across the state.
“We know there is overcrowding in the prisons, but they have to provide proper security for the people who are incarcerated there and treat them like human beings,” said Simelton.
The Justice Department says Alabama prison conditions appear to violate inmates’ constitutional rights. In 2016, the DOJ released a report saying state prisons fail to uphold a basic constitutional right: protection from cruel and unusual punishment.
In 2020, the DOJ sued the state based on conditions in correctional facilities, and last year, the Justice Department told News 19 its investigation found reasonable cause to believe the state’s men’s correctional facility in Limestone County fails to provide “constitutionally adequate conditions” and that the prisoners experience “serious harm, including deadly harm.”
“I want you to know how inhumane people are treated,” Williams said. “These are people. These are our loved ones.”
Williams says she fears what may happen to her brother if conditions inside the Limestone Correctional Facility do not soon improve.
News 19 has reached out to ADOC for comment, but we have not received a response as of this publication.