Alabama prisons report fatal stabbing and two recent suicides
Prison system is under federal investigation
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) confirmed a prisoner at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore was stabbed to death Monday.
John David Teague, 48, was found unresponsive in a housing area by correctional officers at approximately 3:30 a.m., according to the ADOC news release. Teague was taken to the prison’s infirmary but died from multiple stab wounds. Officials have identified a suspect’s in Teague’s death, but are not releasing his name during the investigation. Teague was serving a 21-year sentence for a 2007 third-degree burglary conviction.
ADOC also confirmed two recent suicides inside Alabama prisons. WBRC first asked for information about the suicides last week after receiving tips. According to the news release, one prisoner committed suicide at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore on December 21. Another prisoner committed suicide at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville on January 2. The ADOC is not releasing the names.
ADOC is currently in the remedy phase of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of mentally ill inmates by Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). In 2017, U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson called the state’s prison mental healthcare “horrendously inadequate” and ordered the state to reform the system. SPLC has raised questions about ADOC’s compliance with the remedial orders.
“The court found a year and a half ago that ADOC doesn’t have enough correctional officers and not enough mental health staff," said Maria Morris, managing attorney with SPLC.
"These events are tragic and a direct result of those problems. As long as we have people housed in segregation units not getting the care and monitoring that they need, we’ll continue to see suicides and this extraordinary level of the violence,” she said.
WBRC reported a fatal stabbing at St. Clair Correctional on December 30. ADOC confirmed Terrance Andrews, 24, was found unresponsive with multiple stab wounds after a fight was reported between two prisoners.
The high homicide and suicide rate inside Alabama prisons were recently cited by Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in a report that called the system “the deadliest in the nation.” Citing a dramatic increase in violence due to serious understaffing, overcrowding and official misconduct and corruption, EJI reported Alabama’s homicide rate for incarcerated people is more than 600 percent greater than the national average.
WBRC reached out to Governor Kay Ivey’s office for comment on the report, but did not receive a response.
Alabama’s prisons for men are currently under federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, which announced the investigation in 2016.
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