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U.S. DOJ to investigate Alabama prisons

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that it is investigating the conditions in Alabama’s prisons for men, the DOJ said in a press release today.

The investigation will focus on whether prisoners are adequately protected from physical harm and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners; whether prisoners are adequately protected from use of excessive force and staff sexual abuse by correctional officers; and whether the prisons provide sanitary, secure and safe living conditions.

“The Constitution requires that prisons provide humane conditions of confinement,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in the announcement.  “We hope to work cooperatively with the state of Alabama in conducting our inquiry and ensuring that the state’s facilities keep prisoners safe from harm.”

The Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Alabama are conducting this investigation.

“Our obligation is to protect the civil rights of all citizens, including those who are incarcerated,” U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance of the Northern District of Alabama, said. “This investigation provides us with an opportunity to work collaboratively with the state of Alabama to assess current conditions and ensure constitutionally sufficient conditions exist for all prisoners.”

See the complete story in the Wed., Oct. 12 edition of The Atmore Advance.