Holman dorms compete for nice meal

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Program designed to improve conditions

To help improve facility conditions at William C. Holman Correctional Facility, Warden Cynthia Stewart initiated the “Stop the Violence” program, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.

The program challenges each housing unit to resolve issues without violence for a month.

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“The housing units that meet the challenges are rewarded with a special prepared meal as an incentive,” ADOC Public Information Manager Bob Horton said. “Warden Stewart had implemented the same program at Fountain Correctional Facility when she served there as warden.”

Horton said the program was introduced at Holman in February, and it seems to be working based on the lower number of serious incidents reported since the program’s implementation.

In addition to the stop initiative, the ADOC has augmented the facility’s security staff with a Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) that provides assistance in daily routine duties, Horton said.

“The CERT has helped the security staff in returning the facility to safer operations,” he said.

Searches of Holman have also become more consistent at Holman.

“Canine searches of packages, vehicles and people coming into Holman have contributed to reducing contraband from entering the facility undetected,” Horton said. “Corrections officers are also assigned the necessary equipment for personal protection and for reducing the risk of inmate-on-inmate assaults.”

The program is a positive for the prison, which is battling staffing issues at present.

Horton said 109 employees are assigned to more than 900 inmates at Holman.

Holman operates four shifts, he said.

“A typical shift has approximately 20 officers,” Horton said. “The (ADOC) does not disclose post assignments for security reasons.”

There are several reasons why Holman is short-staffed, Horton said.

“Overcrowding, facility conditions, workload and fatigue attribute to high attrition and low staffing levels,” he said. “In addition, corrections is one of the most dangerous law enforcement jobs and one of the most underpaid.”

Horton said the starting salary for a corrections officer trainee is $28,516.80 annually compared to $35,589.60 for a state trooper trainee.

“(ADOC) Commissioner Jeff Dunn will include funding for a pay raise in the department of corrections’ 2018 budget request, which will require legislative approval,” he said.

Additionally, Horton said recruiting has also taken a big downturn.

“In 2016, approximately 100 officers graduated from the Alabama Corrections Academy,” he said. “In prior years, that number is between 200-250 officer graduates a year.”

In November, the ADOC closed the Atmore Community Work Center, which provided three correctional officers and six correctional supervisors to the prison.