30-DAY BLACKOUT PRESSER
November 18, 2020
by FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Re: FAM launches #30-Day Eçonomic Blackout, calls for Boycott and Work Strike due to continued human rights violations and mounting deaths.
Alabama Department of Corrections.
The Alabama Department of Corrections, under the leadership of embattled and controversial commissioner Jefferson Dunn, continues to be in the news as the death toll within the prison system continues to rise. The failed prison system is set to reach another historic high in preventable deaths due to violence, as well as continue to rank among national leaders in suicides and drug overdose deaths. At the same time, the ADOC’s lack of a plan, testing or effective response to COVID-19 is causing additional deaths.
In response to these and other conditions, the FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, a Civil and Human Rights organization founded in 2013 and lead from inside the ADOC by activist incarcerated there, have issued a call for a 30-Day Economic Blackout to protest the blatant civil, human and constitutional rights violations being imposed upon the 20,000 plus Men and Women incarcerated in ADOC. FAM states that the ADOC is in the midst of a full fledged humanitarian crisis, and that state leaders aren’t doing enough to preserve and protect the lives of those in its custody.
FAM’s 30-Day Blackout calls for a statewide work strike on all prison labor, which FAM continues amounts to slavery, and a boycott of prison services providers Jay Pay, Access Corrections, Securus, ACI, and Union Supply, companies that FAM states are profiting off families through exploitation, price gouging, which is made possible through their monopoly contracts with the government.
Since its founding, the Free Alabama Movement has been at the forefront of exposing conditions inside ADOC, which have included allegations of excessive and dangerous overcrowding, state-engineered violence, drug proliferation, corruption and ethics violation, excessive force, police brutality, and more.
By 2016, due to FAM’s advocacy work and activism, media coverage and exposure of Alabama’s troubled prison system had become so intense and the issues so magnified, that they could no longer be ignored. Alabama prisons were making the news for all the wrong reasons with no solutions in sight. The federal government had also received wind of the allegations being levied against ADOC, leading the DOJ to launch a full investigation into all 14 male institutions.
In April 2019, the DOJ concluded the first portion of its investigation by issuing a Report declaring that the ADOC’s operational practices, inhumane living conditions, staff shortages, lack of security, and insufficient investments in education and rehabilitation, etc., amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution. In July, 2020, the DOJ released a second Report in their investigation, this time finding that the ADOC is overran by a culture of violence, officer brutality and corruption that extends from the top down.
FAM is demanding the following preventable actions be taken immediately by ADOC in order to save human life, or FAM promises more actions of our own:
1.Take immediate steps to drastically reduce the ADOC population down to no less than design capacity of less than 11,000, to protect lives from the spread of COVID 19.
2. Take immediate steps to address the culture of corruption and brutality, including creating a database to document and track every use of force incident by an ADOC employee. Those with a history of excessive use of force or brutality, or other ethical misconduct must be terminated immediately.
3. Admit to the drug epidemic that is engulfing ADOC, and then take IMMEDIATE action to address this major factor contributing to the humanitarian crisis going on inside ADOC.
4. Allow for unlimited free phone calls to relieve the burden of struggling and poor families during this economic crisis and global pandemic.
5. Remove Article 1, sec. 32 of the Alabama Constitution of 1901, which allows for slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for crime.
6.Repeal HFOA and make, Ala. Stat. §§ 12-25-1 to 12-25-38 retroactive for all sentenced under the HFOA.
7.IMPLEMENTATION OF GOOD TIME FOR ALL
8.IMPLEMENTATION OF EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION PROGRAMS THAT ARE PROVEN TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM
9.CREATION OF GRIEVANCE SYSTEM WITHIN ADOC THAT IS MONITORED BY THE PUBLIC AND FAMILY MEMBERS OF THE INCARCERATED, IN ORDER ADDRESS ISSUES AND COMPLAINTS WITHOUT NEEDLESS LITIGATION
10. CREATE A CONVICTION INTEGRITY UNIT /WRONGFUL CONVICTION COMMISSION
And /or in the alternative, we call on the DOJ to compel the State of Alabama to comply with the Constitutional mandate of the 8th and 14th Amendment.