ST. CLAIR COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - The wife of a St. Clair Correctional Facility officer is speaking out about safety concerns at the prison after a riot led to an officer being stabbed and a lockdown this week.
The woman had concerns about the safety of her husband and other officers at the St. Clair Correctional Facility long before Monday's disturbance.
WBRC is not identifying the woman. Correctional officers are forbidden to speak to the media but their spouses are not.
The wife said on Monday there were two correctional officers to monitor 248 inmates when a fight broke out between two prisoners.
She said one officer was stabbed and suffered serious injuries which required surgery at UAB Hospital, where he is still hospitalized.
"We worry about their safety. We worry about them not having the equipment they need to do the job. We worry a lot because they don't get the support from the command staff that they should," she said.
The woman sent a letter to the Department of Corrections weeks ago complaining about the inadequate staffing and not properly equipping officers.
She said officers were told not to use equipment they purchased, such as handcuffs batons or flash lights. She said the prison system did not have enough equipment to produce every officer during s shift.
A prison system official has denied the allegation, saying all officers have adequate equipment.
The wife says updated communication, security cameras, sensors, and especially staffing, are needed to make Alabama prisons safer.
"The biggest issue is they need to get is more people or if they can't get more people, they gotta do something to reduce the overcrowding," she said.
The DOC agrees staffing is a problem and said the department is pushing for more hires.
While the wife said she has yet to hear from DOC, the spokesman said the department welcomes any family member to call and express their fears.