Nearly every week, the Southern Center for Human Rights receives a letter or call from a person who has been assaulted, stabbed, or raped in prison or jail. Sometimes the violent incident has been perpetrated by a fellow prisoner. Other times, the abuse was at the hands of officers. At many of our prisons and jails, men and women live in constant fear of violence.
Too often, prison administrators tolerate high levels of violence of their facilities, excusing it as an inevitable consequence of life in prison. That was the case at Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto, Georgia. For years, Arrendale was a violent and troubled institution. Dangerously understaffed, the facility housed the youngest and most vulnerable prisoners, including children sentenced in adult court. Rapes, stabbings, chokings, and beatings with locks, broomsticks, trash cans and other objects left many of these young people with severe head injuries, lacerations, bruises, broken teeth and other physical injuries as well as severe psychological trauma.
The violence at Arrendale resulted in the death of Wayne Boatwright, Jr. The 18-year old youth was raped and strangled to death in February 2004. He had written to his grandmother desperately asking her to intervene with prison officials because of his fear of being raped. His grandmother and father contacted prison officials asking that he be protected. It was to no avail. In the six months following Wayne’s death, the Southern Center documented over fifty further violent incidents, including rapes, stabbings, and beatings by officers.
The Southern Center for Human Rights and King & Spalding LLP brought the unconstitutional conditions at Arrendale to the attention of the federal court. Courageous family members of the young men at Arrendale spoke out at a legislative hearing on the troubled prison. Under pressure from the court and the Legislature, the Department of Corrections closed Arrendale, moved the men to other facilities, and created a special unit for vulnerable people under age 21. (Arrendale was later re-opened as a women’s facility).
To read legal documents filed in the Lee Arrendale State Prison case, click here.
To read press coverage on Lee Arrendale State Prison, click here.
To read the Complaint in a case involving an in-custody death under suspicious circumstances, click here: Barksdale v. Holt (M.D. Ala. 2008)
To read documents in a class action lawsuit regarding exessive use of force against incarcerated men with mentally disabilities, click here: Fluellen v. Donald.
|Title||Publication||Date of Publication|
|Southern Center for Human Rights Sues Georgia Department of Corrections for Violations of the Open Records Act||04/04/2013|
|SCHR's Letter to GDC Commissioner Regarding Crisis in Security at Hays State Prison and other facilities||01/31/2013|
|Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Filed Against Georgia Department of Corrections Officers for Alleged Beating of Handcuffed Prisoners at Hays State Prison||02/17/2012|
|Rocrast Mack's Murder At Alabama Prison Followed Trail Of Violence By Guards||Huffington Post||11/23/2011|
|SCHR Report Details Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Priorities||10/21/2011|
|Lawsuit Filed Against Georgia Department of Corrections Officers for Beatings of Handcuffed Prisoners at Hays State Prison||07/12/2011|
|Agreement Settles Lawsuit Challenging Overcrowded and Dangerous Conditions at Donaldson Correctional Facility||04/21/2011|
|Summary Judgment Filed in Prison Violence Case:Litigation Seeks to Reduce Assaults and Trauma at Donaldson Correctional Facility||03/24/2010|
|SCHR Responds to ADOC; Data Reveals Assaults on Corrections Officers at Donaldson Also Underreported||12/12/2009|
|Alabama Department of Corrections Significantly Underreports Assaults on Incarcerated Men||12/09/2009|
|Atlanta, police department sued over gay bar raid||Associated Press||11/24/2009|
|SCHR Releases 5th Edition of Georgia Advocacy Handbook: A Guide to Helping Loved Ones in Georgia Prisons||11/09/2009|
|Alabama Supreme Court Sides with People in Prison in Open Records Act Lawsuit||09/18/2009|
|Alabama prison guards side with inmates in lawsuit||05/07/2009|
|Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Injured Prisoners to Prevent Future Violence||SCHR Press Release||02/26/2009|
|Prison Shake-up to Protect Youth||Atlanta Journal Constitution||11/18/2004|
|Alto prisoners testify to violence||Atlanta Journal Constitution||11/16/2004|
|Judge asked to hold state in contempt over prison for young||Atlanta Journal Constitution||10/01/2004|
|Cries for help||Creative Loafing||08/12/2004|