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Alabama prisoner commits suicide at Kilby Prison

This marks third prison suicide in six weeks
Paul Ford
Paul Ford((Source: ADOC))
Updated: Jan. 17, 2019 at 1:42 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) confirms that a prisoner died of apparent suicide at Kilby Correctional Facility in Montgomery County. Paul Ford, 49, was serving a life without parole sentence for a 1988 murder conviction in Talladega County. Prison officials found Ford hanging by a bed sheet in his cell at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to an ADOC news release.

Last week, WBRC reported a fatal stabbing inside Elmore Correctional Facility, along with two other recent prison suicides. ADOC is currently the subject of a federal investigation into prison conditions, in which investigators said the ADOC has engaged in a pattern of delay and obstruction. The ADOC said it is cooperating with the investigation.

"On an almost daily basis, the Department receives calls from prisoners and family members recounting allegations of violence, sexual abuse, and death in Alabama prisons,” attorneys for the Department of Justice wrote in a court filing dated November 29, 2018. “For many of these allegations, incident reports either do not exist, contain little information, or the identifying coding is incorrect.”

The ADOC is also in the midst of the remedy phase of a class-action lawsuit filed by Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) over mental healthcare in Alabama prisons. In 2017, a federal judge called ADOC’s mental healthcare “horrendously inadequate” in a 300-page ruling against ADOC. Eight prisoners in ADOC custody committed suicide in 2018.

Maria Morris, managing attorney with SPLC, said Alabama prisons are currently experiencing an “understaffing crisis.”

“ADOC cannot protect the prisoners in its custody," Morris said. "It cannot provide the needed monitoring in dangerous housing units. This is a problem that demands immediate action by the ADOC to fix the conditions that lead to this level of desperation.”

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