MONTGOMERY, AL — The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) is disappointed by the Commissioner’s statement of December 9, 2009 regarding violence at Donaldson Correctional Facility. A more appropriate response would have been to apologize to the public for providing erroneous information and to promise to make public the result of an investigation into how these errors occurred.
SCHR responds to the particulars of the Commissioner’s statement as follows:
First, the data SCHR relied upon in conducting its analysis came from the Department’s own internal records, records the Department fought to keep secret both in the Hicks v. Hetzel litigation and in the Barksdale v. Allen (open records) litigation. Contrary to the Commissioner’s statement, moreover, the Department’s erroneous reporting continued well after the Hicks v. Hetzel litigation was filed in February 2009.
Second, spurred by public comment from the Alabama Correctional Organization, an organization of persons employed at Alabama prisons, SCHR compared the Department’s internal monthly statistics with its public reports of assaults on correctional staff. SCHR found that the Department has also underreported assaults on correctional officers at Donaldson CF (see attached chart). According to the Department’s own internal documents, ADOC underreported assaults on the prison's correctional staff for 12 of the 19 months for which SCHR has internal data (January 2008-July 2009).
Third, the Commissioner quoted out of context one sentence from an 8-hour deposition of SCHR’s correctional security expert, Steve J. Martin. Attached is a brief containing a more accurate characterization of Mr. Martin’s findings pertaining to Donaldson Correctional Facility. SCHR will provide the full transcript of Mr. Martin’s deposition upon request.
|SCHR Chart: Inmate on Staff Assaults||9.38 KB|
|SCHR's Reply Brief - Hicks v. Hetzel November 2009||82.37 KB|
|Press Release from Alabama Department of Corrections, 12-9-09||107.5 KB|
|Press Release from Alabama Corrections Organization in Support of SCHR requests for assurate information, 12-9-09||140.6 KB|