Steven Davis after confrontation with guards in Alabama State Prison

American Horror Story

Some witnessed so much mind-scarring violence that they fear they will never heal.

The men cry.

They speak in hushed tones, fearful they’ll be labeled a “snitch” by guards.

Some witnessed so much mind-scarring violence that they fear they will never heal. Like the Alabama prisoner who saw another human being sodomized with a broomstick and assaulted with boiling water poured down his anus. Another man, in drug debt, was made to walk on all fours wearing a collar and leash like a dog. 

All too often, the voices of the people directly affected by the Alabama prison system are not heard. Effectively cut off from the outside world, the lucky men have loved ones to advocate for their safety and welfare. Others have no one, can’t afford to make phone calls from prison or have difficulty getting stamps to write. 

In many ways, the state speaks for them. 

Alabama Department of Corrections has its version of what’s going on inside Holman, Kilby, Staton and the state’s other prisons in its official news releases. Nearly every day, accounts released by state officials are reported without verification, despite the fact multiple federal institutions have found that ADOC’s own employees have lied in their record-keeping and under-counted violent incidents as severe as murder

To get the other side of the story, the Advertiser paid for phone calls and stamps to include these men in the narrative about their own lives, which they are often excluded from telling by nature of their incarceration.

During the past seven months, a reporter interviewed more than two dozen individuals currently incarcerated inside Alabama Department of Corrections prisons. All agreed to share their stories. 

They call in 15-minute spurts again, and again, and again, desperate for someone beyond prison walls and coils of barbed wire to finally listen to what they have witnessed.

“If I die in here, I don’t want it to be a waste,” one man said. “Maybe what I’m saying will save somebody.” 

The consistency of experiences — from prison to prison, from lifers to the newly incarcerated, from young and old, from black and white — paint a chilling portrait of corruption, violence and the disintegration of state institutions purported to correct and rehabilitate.

inmate in an isolation cell

Some of the men agreed to speak on the record. Others, understandably fearful of possible retaliation by prison staff or other prisoners, asked the Advertiser to shield their identities. 

These men are not naïve. They understand that, by nature of their incarceration, they are often viewed as untrustworthy. Their experiences — so extreme, so foreign to the “normal” everyday life in the United States — can seem unbelievable at first glance. Because of the cloistered nature of the prison system, it is impossible to verify every detail of their stories. 

They agreed to share their experiences to shine a light on the layers of negligence, mismanagement and corruption that have escalated into a systemic culture of human rights violations inside Alabama taxpayer-funded facilities.

Wendell Roberts

On his first night back in prison in August, Wendell wandered the dorm for five hours before he could find a bed to sleep in. Someone else was sleeping in his assigned bunk, and there was no officer present to enforce the rules. 

After nearly two decades in the free world, Wendell was recently re-incarcerated because of a parole violation. Middle-aged with several back surgeries under his belt, he fears for his ability to survive in an environment that is unrecognizable to him.

I have found myself living in hell. Maybe God’s trying to show me that this place needs some help. 

I can’t sleep on the bed I’m assigned to. There was a guy stabbed in the face the other night. I don’t believe Chicago and New York has as many drugs there as in this prison. There’s any kind of drugs you want here. They wig out. The police just step over them. It’s like they’re just used to it.

[There’s an older man who] is homeless in prison. He has no mattress, no clothes. He sleeps on the floor. Every time he gets something, they take it from him. 

Everybody I’ve seen has a knife on them. I lived a horrible life until I got saved in 1997. I promised God then I’d never raise my hand over a human being in violence again. For the first time in my life, I feel more vulnerable than I ever have in my life. I’m 6-foot-5, but I’m old. For the first time in my life, I’m not able [to protect myself.] When you lay down to go to sleep, you better be prayed up, because there’s no guarantee you’re waking up. I wanted someone to know, if something happens to me, that I’m not the only victim in here. 

The other night I heard someone say, counting the sergeant and the staff here, there were only 11 [security] people in the prison. Eleven for security for the whole prison.

You couldn’t have told me [it was this bad]. If I was still on parole and you told me this, I wouldn’t believe you until I saw it with my own eyes. The only way I can describe is it’s hell on Earth. You’re either a wolf or sheep in here. The wolves run in packs and the sheep don’t have a chance. If you do lash out, and you do try to stand up, you have to stand up to a pack of wolves by yourselves. The best thing you can do is lay low and watch the insanity. 

There was a guy who beat on the gates for 5 hours the other day screaming, “They’re going to kill me.” They finally let him out, took him to medical, drugged him up and threw him back in. For five hours, I’ve never seen anyone live such a life of terror. I’ve never seen anyone who was so terror-stricken. He was begging, begging for help. It went on for five hours. They were beating on the glass and threatening to riot if they didn’t get him out of here. 

I’ve been here less than a week and I’ve seen it twice, people begging for help and assistance. [When I walked in,] I felt like I’d fallen off the face of Earth into hell. The Department of Corrections is the biggest joke. It’s an oxymoron. There’s no corrections here. 

Since I’ve been here [two weeks] they’ve called yard time twice. They hadn’t had yard time in months until the other day. We’ve been stuck inside the dorm all day long. You’re stuck in here with all the tension and drug abuse. I just bow my head and go to praying and ask for God to protect me. I don’t know what else to do. It’s the most unrealistic thing I could have ever imagined in my life.

“American Horror Story” has nothing on this place. 

If I die in here, I don’t want it to be a waste. Maybe what I’m saying will save somebody. I don’t want to die. I never pictured myself back in prison again. I want to do something with the life I have left. There’s no sense in it being wasted. If my testimony and truth can bring reform, then so be it. We’ve all made mistakes in life. But they don’t deserve this. We don’t deserve this.


Swift Justice is an incarcerated man in Alabama who works as a prisoner advocate, internally organizing to improve conditions inside Alabama prisons. The Advertiser has verified and confirmed his identity.

My experiences within these walls and the many stories that I could share are more than likely going to come off to the everyday reader of the Montgomery Advertiser as something one would describe as inconceivable or possibly even fabricated. I know for a fact your Alabama politicians and Alabama’s Department of Corrections Commissioner Jefferson Dunn would love for you to dismiss the things you will read as just that. 

My experiences in ADOC have been horrid. I’ve seen and even participated in many acts of violence. I’ve seen many deaths ranging from suicide to murder. I’ve seen overdoses, and I’ve seen old men die wishing they could just be free one more time before passing.

I’ve watched the very ones who are trusted to keep us in custody, safe and prepared for returning home beat, extort and even rape. My experience is one I’d never wish upon my worst enemy. 

Of all the years I’ve spent in prison I have yet to see any form of tangible “rehabilitation.” Especially any of the true definition of such a word. … Rehabilitate means to restore to a former capacity. After leaving these prisons, I will never be restored mentally or physically. I will and cannot hold certain jobs, go to college for certain fields of education. I will suffer from PTSD and chance are shy away from people and crowds. 

The humanity of us in here is stripped.

One asks why should the average citizen care about the living conditions in prison? It’s imperative to answer that question in the simplest way. First the taxpayer (average citizen) is the investor of prison life. Next, the investor now becomes a party in the creation of what exits these walls. My question has always been and remains, “What kind of individual would you want me to be once I’m released? A man or a monster? Rehabilitated or an animal?” If one was to really think about the creation of what I am to become along the same lines as the investment of their own personal safety, wouldn’t you want the best assurance money could buy?


Like Wendell Roberts, S. spent significant time in prison decades ago and was recently reincarcerated on a parole violation. Describing the environment of fear he’s entered, he cries on the phone when talking with an Advertiser reporter.

It’s like night and day now. It’s way worse. It’s more violent. There’s more drugs and cell phones. The guards don’t do their jobs. I’m back and it’s my fault, but I don’t deserve this kind of punishment, people don’t deserve this kind of punishment. It’s due to a lack of security. 

I’m in a dangerous situation talking to you right now. I’m 48 years old. I pray to God I make it out. I try to be strong. I don’t mess with nobody. I don’t deal with drugs. I’m not blaming anybody. I deserve to be locked up. But you don’t have to do nothing to be put in a bad spot [here]. If they smoke that stuff, they wig out bad. They trip out real bad. 

A guy wigged* out the other night smoking whatever. He had a knife in his hand and he was just randomly hitting people. I thank God everybody wasn’t asleep. Dude was starting way up in the sky [slashing] down with the knife. He was chasing people, they were jumping through racks*, running and climbing.

During count [there are two officers in the dorm,] after that there is one. In the cubes* they’ve got air conditioning, so that’s where they stay. When there’s somebody wigging out, passed out, they just walk by them. 

You have to have someone there walking through the dorm, constantly, not just sitting in the cube all day. If something happens and they’re not in the area to see it, I’m not going to go knock on the cube. I have to mind my own business.”

*Most prisoners refer to the guard post, located outside but adjacent to the dorm, as the cube. Bunk beds are typically referred to as racks. Bad or extreme drug reactions are referred to as wigging out.


D. is incarcerated at the same facility with S. and corroborated the story of a prisoner, likely high on an unknown substance, who “wigged out” and ran through the dorm wielding a knife. 

People were running and trying to get away from him. The next morning, two more got stabbed. If you go tap on the cube and tell them something is going on, you could be the next one. They’re going to label you a snitch or rat. 

It’s the worse it’s been. More violence and more drugs. I don’t do any drugs. I just want to do my time and go home to my family.

The only time [guards] come out of the cube is count. Every once in awhile they walk through. They count about four times a day. That’s the only time they walk around the dorm like they should. Two officers. 400 people. 200 on each side. 98 beds, two to a bed.

[When someone wigs out] they step over them and keep going. They laugh about it. If it gets bad enough they get directed to medical, but normally not.

Willie Watkins, Bullock Correctional Facility

Incarcerated a decade ago, Watkins has shuffled between eight different facilities. A devout Christian, he’s known for helping new prisoners safely acclimate to the environment. But he’s heartbroken over the violence and abuse he sees daily and can do nothing about it. 

Nothing has changed. Nothing has gotten better. It’s gotten worse. In prison, it should be a place to rehabilitate yourself. Most people will go back [to society.] They’re making you worse here. They’re making you a worse person than what you were when you came. 

The drugs and cell phones are the root of all the stuff in here. The inmates aren’t bringing it in here. We can’t jump a hot gate with barbed wire. We can’t bring stuff inside.

I’m saved. I love the Lord. At the same time, I want to stay alive. The people in here are violating our civil rights. I’ve seen folks have knife fights in front of police. [The guards] run out and close the gates. They’re not going to put themselves on the line like a real police officer would. They’re scared to come in here and shake down. 

They’re afraid. They’re afraid. But they’ve let the prison get out of control. They did this.

inmate quote1

Prison should not only be about punishment. I’m not going to condone crime, but prison should be about rehabilitation so you can do better when you do get out of here. To do better, to make better choices in life, to get off drugs, to try to get an education, to learn work skills and take a trade. So you won’t have reasons to go out there and say I’ve never had a job so I have to rob and sell drugs. These prisons just take hope from these people.

A lot of people come from broken families and some of them lose their mind in here. I’ve seen things that even hurts me and haunts me. You see older people get beat and robbed in here, and you can’t do nothing about it because there’s so many of them. To watch an old man get robbed or beat, watch a person get raped …

It’s like playing Russian roulette when you come into these prisons. When you’ve got kids, a lot of young kids come in here, and a lot of folks get taken advantage of as soon as they come in here. Targeted for rape, extortion, all types of stuff in here. The DOC ain’t doing nothing. They’re just here basically to keep you in prison. It’s like they condone it.

Ma’am, I’ve seen old, elderly people in wheelchairs get jumped on and robbed and get beat real bad. There’s nothing you can do about it. Officers don’t do nothing. I’ve seen a man get beat so bad in here, and the officers dragged him back in and put him in the same dorm.

This place is like a killing ground. It’s like a killing field, and nobody is doing anything about it. When people do get murdered, they say ‘died from natural causes.’ 

I’ve had to put my cover on my head because I’ve heard so much stuff. I just can’t look at it. Everybody is crying out for help in here. But DOC doesn’t support help. We don’t get yard for exercise. They just lock us in these dorms around each other. It’s unreal. You go to the kitchen, it smells like raw sewage. Sometimes you see water on the floor from where the sewage runs over.

No. 1, these are human beings. And the state is breaking the law. These people don’t have life. They will get back in society. You should care about it. They should care about what they’re doing to a man’s mind in here. These people are somebody’s sons and grandsons in here. Some people in here were writing a bad check, and they’re losing their lives in here. 

I’d like to see these officers start to do their jobs. There needs to be more programs* in here. You have people in here doing 30 or 40 years, they’ve gotten so old they’re in wheelchairs. What threat are they to society? I’m talking about people in their 80s. Some of them in here are blind. They have to put their hand on another person’s shoulder to go to the chow hall or the store. 

*Programs refer to classes, many of them ADOC mandated, such as drug rehabilitation or anger management. Many ADOC prisoners have told the Advertiser it is extremely difficult to get the classes required to make parole.


A has spent nearly three decades inside Alabama prisons and says conditions are like nothing he’s ever seen before. As he ages, he fears for his ability to protect himself against an increasingly violent and unhinged environment. 

The things I’m seeing now is nothing like I’ve never seen. I’m 48. I fear for my life. I’ve been trying to reach out to somebody. A lot of the officers they’re hiring now are so young. They’re coming in and allowing things to happen. 

As long as I’ve been locked up, I’ve known their rules. When you go to them and tell them you fear for your life, they’re supposed to investigate that. But they’re not doing that. They don’t care. 

We just had an incident two weeks ago where an inmate and officer got to arguing at the grill gate area. They were standing six to seven feet apart. The inmate was standing there with his knife out, and the officer didn’t do anything. They called more officers and talked to him, they didn’t take the knife. Eighty-eight people assigned to the dorm, and there’s almost 200 knives. They don’t do the shakedowns like they used to do 10 or 12 years ago. The officers are their homeboys.

Everybody walks around with a knife. A lot of people use the iron that come off the beds. There are little snaps where the drawer box fits. Anything they can find with iron, steel. They’ll tear stuff off the tables. 

This is the first time in 26 and a half years that I’ve been in a camp where the administration refuses to enforce their rules. They don’t want to get themselves killed. No officers are in the dorm or on the floor. They’re supposed to, but they’ll stay outside on the hallways or in the grill gate area. They’re not going to put themselves in danger. When they come into the dormitory, they know almost the whole dorm is walking around with their knives on them. It’s not like in the old days, when they did pat downs. 

They just act like they don’t see it. 

This is what I’ve had to revert to, it’s so widespread that I’m forced to buy me a knife just to protect myself. I don’t want to do anything. I’ve been locked up for so long that I want to go home. I’ve already been denied parole. I know one day I’m going home. But I don’t want the time to come where I’m forced to do something to defend myself. 

Maybe someday you have a family member that comes here. Even though we committed crimes, and we’re in here doing our time —  I won’t deny my crime — we’re still human. It’s gotten to the point we’re not treated like humans. The only help we can get is from out there. Everybody in here is working together. You write the commissioner’s officer, anyone connected with DOC, it’s like they just throw it away or throw it under the pile. 

People say, “They’re criminals, don’t worry about it.” We’re still people.

I pray to God I don’t get pushed to the point where I have to protect myself. When your back is against the wall… I’m trying to avoid that.

Inmate Quote 2


I couldn’t sleep for days on end when I got here. There were times it felt like it was safe to take a nap, but I was so terrified I’d wake myself up. That feeling of anxiety that you know that something has to be done, that survival instinct. It’s like a panic out of sleep. That’s the feeling that I have.

When I first got here, they had a guy tied up around a rack and they had beaten him, whipped him and videoed him, and ordered his family to pay his drug debt. They had him walking around on all floors with a rope around his neck, like a dog, making him eat and drink off the ground. 

I thought I was going to get killed the first two or three months I was here. There was a night where there was a guy screaming in the back of the dorm. They were taking turns raping him. There was two guys trying to rob me. I knew I was about to get attacked, there were threats. I went to two officers and told them my fears. And they made a big scene, put me out in the hallways, and shook the whole dorm down to make it look like I’d ask for it. That made over 80 inmates my enemy. I was convinced at that point that I was the next one to get stabbed. They moved me to the worse dorm, and when they moved me there the officer told everybody there I was a snitch. “Don’t anyone mess with this guy, he’s the police.” I was terrified. It’s a very traumatic experience. 

It’s not uncommon at all to hogtie people. Officers will come in for count and walk right by the person who is hogtied. They will not get involved. It’s not directly harming me but … it breaks my heart. The officers let you know that it can get as bad as they want to let it. 

Any person who looks or acts homosexual are referred to as sissies. I’m so disgusted with it. They’re in positions to be leaders. And this is the direction they’re leading everyone in.

The biggest problem is the officers. The majority of documentation is completely false. What they document that happens in here, the majority of it is totally fabricated. We see stuff happen first hand. The stabbings are sometimes on a daily basis. The deaths — there are times when it’s on a weekly basis. The brutal beatings, every day. The amount of people with concussions is unreal. You know they’re concussed, but they don’t get any kind of real treatment for that. 

Officers won’t listen to any authority whatsoever. The majority are so corrupt, they’ve been doing it for so long, and they’ve been getting away with it for so long.

Every inmate here knows who brings in dope. Dope comes in other ways, but they don’t even search inmates who go outside of the camp and come back in. They have metal detectors, and they don’t even use them. For officers, it’s their job security to allow inmates to do whatever they want so they can do whatever they want. Anywhere officers can sit down to sleep, they’re sleeping. There’s people yelling, screaming for their lives being brutally beaten and stabbed, and the officers just stand there talking. They have no intention of changing anything, at all. 

We had a guy [get sick] in here a few weeks ago. They wouldn’t let him out. The officer came to the door and just stood there. We had been beating on the windows for 30 minutes. They said he was dehydrated. He had been sick for a couple of days, but he was turning blue. 

Animal shelters get better treatment. If this was an animal shelter, people would be convicted of animal cruelty. But this is human cruelty. It’s cruel and unusual punishment. 

[Officers] listen to these calls. And I know this is insulting to them. But it’s the bald-faced truth. No one here can deny it. It’s an enterprise. Every prison is doing it. It’s the officers and the wardens. They could make a difference, but they won’t. They turn the other way if they’re not involved, because they can’t step on toes. A lot of it, I’m afraid, is some officers get involved with it because they don’t want to be an outcast, and then they can’t stop doing it out of fear that they’ll get arrested or get hurt. Either way it goes, it’s a no-win situation for them.

Homemade Shanks

There’s a lot of ice meth, powder cocaine, crack cocaine. Those are heavy money makers. I know because I’ve sold drugs in my life. I’m not a ray of sunshine. But this breaks my heart. All the synthetics are very, very prevalent. It’s widespread, it’s everywhere. You can see that it causes brain damage to these people. I’ve seen people go downhill within a month, three months, skin and bones. You can tell that something is going on with their brain. Whether they’re high or not, it’s not functioning properly. I’m a recovering addict. I’m 36, and I was a user since I was 13. I know brain damage when I see it. I know the effects this is having, these synthetics.

No one should be subjected to this. No one. It is cruel and unusual punishment. Humans are being tortured, in so many ways. It’s very risky for me to release this information. But they’ll keep doing it because they think we can’t prove anything. We’re in here, behind closed doors. They’re in authority positions and they can easily lie about anything. 

They’ll do anything they can to make sure this information is considered not valid. They’ll doctor up everything, and they’ll come up with a story to make any of this look like it’s not true. It’s going on right now in dorms all around me. 

I’m trying to stand up for what is right. I will not forget. I won’t be able to. The people that are suffering inside Alabama prisons is unreal.

Inmate Quote 3

Brian Barnes

Barnes, struggling with PTSD and mental illness since adolescence, has spent half of his 42 years incarcerated in some capacity. He’s “not proud of it,” he said, but wants to speak out. 

I’ve served time at almost every major prison in the state. Over the years, I’ve witnessed major changes in the culture inside Alabama prisons and every year it just seems to get worse. 

When I first came to prison, contraband wasn’t a big deal. Just a little weed & julep*. Sports betting was the biggest thing. You had a few little segregated groups. But mostly everyone got along and respected one another. You could even learn a trade and get some real drug treatment. 

Now the drug treatment dorms are where most of the drugs are at. 

ADOC looks down on and actually punishes the addict, while at the same time promoting the drug trade and catering to the dealers. I’ve witnessed captains and [sergeants] make inmates pay their drug debts. Even write the inmate up for creating a security hazard. If you feared for your safety, you use to be placed in [solitary.]

Now if you fear for your safety they want names, and most of the time you’re forced right back into the very same dorm with the inmates you named. Inmates have been tied up and beat on for days in dorms, while guards just count and go about their business.

I’ve witnessed inmates get jumped on and tell the guards they were scared to go back in the dorm, and the guards actually dragged them back in the dorm to get jumped again. 

People are actually harming themselves and going on suicide watch just to escape the harsh realities of today’s prisons. 

Most inmates sit idle 23 hours a day in these dorms with nothing to do but get high and plot ways to the next high. 

It’s sad, but it’s the truth. 

Now that I’m older and realize I’ve got one last chance to live my life right and contribute to society, I just want to see the prison system get cleaned up, so maybe the next generation can get the help they need. 

*Julep is a type of homemade alcohol, typically made from fermented fruit or other available foods.


Rehabilitation? More Dehabilitation, people are placed in an extremely violent environment, beat on by other people in prison and the guards. I have seen a common practice of a group of people pay the guards a pack of Newports to let them in a dorm they don’t live in to beat and torture another person

It is impossible to be rehabilitated in a place where 85% of the people get high on drugs that make them lose control of their actions, and these people have knives, a lot of free world lock blade knives that the guards bring, and many types of wood sticks and other weapons which could easily kill a man and have in the past. 

We are the people that when we are released from prison that will be living in your neighborhood working with you. Our kids go to school with yours. When you are placed in a violent environment, you have to adapt in order to survive. Most people become predator or prey.

James Taylor

Taylor is a 45-year-old serving a life without parole sentence under Alabama’s habitual offenders law. Taylor works as a law clerk at Donaldson Correctional Facility, a prisoner who helps others research their legal cases or file paperwork. He saw the Department of Justice report as progress, but doesn’t believe Alabama will take the initiative to implement meaningful change without outside pressure.

There are no meaningful checks and balances within the system, no substantial means of accountability on the part of certain correction officials; lower level as well as at the upper echelon levels. [It] is blatant, inmates see it, know it, recognize it, and have grown tired of it, and this is why many inmates are resistant to entertain attempts at true ‘change’ reform.

How can checks and balances serve the true spirit of their purpose when superiors can’t or won’t check subordinates out of fear of being blackmailed? 

This is not to say that all officials are crooked. However, I am saying that this type apathy is more deeply ingrained than realized by most and it is an obstacle to true, meaningful change. 

[The DOJ] has helped tremendously, but there is still so much more that needs to be done but under watchful, federal supervision. The feds need to see this immense project through to completion. No more staying on the state’s “rear-end” for a while and then pulling back expecting the state to complete the mission! This has happened for far too long and after a while things go back to “the way things have always been done around here.”


When we come into prison, we’re not allowed to make decisions for ourselves. We’re torn down to this base concept of what a person should be. We’re replaced with a number. It’s a dehumanizing process.

It would be difficult for an officer to treat us the way they treat us if they looked at us as human beings. It would be difficult for them to do their jobs and go home. It’s cruel for them to be subjected to this environment, and it’s cruel for us.

We already know that “lock ’em up and throw away the key” don’t help. It’s not going to help. People will get out. If we’re going to be letting people out, why not let them out in the best position possible to be successful? To become taxpaying citizens? Why let them out in this condition so they can wreak more havoc, cause more damage, hurt more people? 

All I want for people to do is to keep this conversation going. The report made a big splash, but then it went away. There are good people in prison. There are people who need to be here, who should be here. I was one of the people who needed to be here.

Just because we can’t change our past doesn’t mean we’re unwilling or incapable of change. Don’t let us be thrown away like this. We know we’ve created victims. There’s nothing we can do about that. It breaks my heart to think of all the people that I’ve hurt to get to where I’m at. But I don’t think this helps society, I don’t think it helps us, I don’t think it helps the victims. This isn’t justice or closure.


Jacob was recently released from Elmore Correctional Facility after serving just a few months on a 3-year sentence. Though he suffered from minor depression as a teenager, he has had to seek medical care for debilitating panic attacks and nightmares since he left prison. Jacob says he’s “educated, from a good family” and had no idea how bad conditions were inside. In his late 20s, Jacob said he was targeted and stalked by sexual harassers, and prison staff did nothing to stop it. Jacob said he filed multiple PREA claims, the system through which to report sexual abuse, but no one ever followed up with him. 

As soon as I walked into a back gate, I noticed a sign that says “Welcome to the nut house.” The trustees tried to warn us to be careful, that it’s a really bad camp. A guard looks right at me and says, “You’re going to be somebody’s boy in here,” like their girlfriend or property, and laughed.

At the back gate, they tell you which dorm you’re going to. I asked what was my bunk number. They said, “Good luck finding one.” They send you into this dorm, you have all of your stuff, you don’t even have a bunk. There’s people in there who are pretty much homeless, they have no racks. They just lay on the floor. Some of them might have sold their racks for drugs, some just get beaten up and their racks taken. 

A couple of guys took me under their wing, and I moved over to be by them. Slowly but surely, little things happened: They try to come on to you, offer you things. But I wasn’t trying to fall for that. One man asked me to perform oral sex on him. He got really graphic, he told me he was safe, he was clean. He told me I could do it one time, and he’d leave me alone, or he could beat me up and take it every day.

I know it’s prison. It’s not supposed to be enjoyable. But my punishment is confinement. Just because I’m a prisoner doesn’t mean that they get to throw me in a room and whatever happens, happens.

Blood Stains

There’s one guard walking around and there are 200 inmates, and 90 percent of the time that guard is in his cube asleep or not paying attention. What else was I supposed to do to get out of that? I went to the shift office. I put in PREA requests. I went to the warden. And nothing worked. There are other people this happens to who try to kill themselves. The guy next to me tried to hang himself. He didn’t die, but they moved him out of there. And it made me think, maybe I should try to kill myself to try to get out of here. That’s how crazy it is. 

(Gov.) Kay Ivey said this is an Alabama problem with an Alabama solution. She should want the federal government’s help. This is out of control.

There’s so many drugs, so many weapons. People had ounces of methamphetamine I saw. I’ve seen heroin, meth, suboxone, they’re real bad on this stuff called flakka. They’ll give drugs to people and then rape them. They’ll try to get people in debt so they’ll feel like they owe them something. I’m not the smartest person, but I’m not the dumbest. I pay attention to my surroundings. But even if you’re not creating any problems, it’s going to find you. It’s heart-wrenching.

They can sit there and say they are short on manpower all they want, but they can do something about this. For me to beg and plead for help, to go unanswered, it’s sickening that our judicial system will allow that to happen.

I need someone to talk to. I need someone to understand what I went through. I can’t sleep at night.

I was in the shower one time, and there’s a window right there where the guard’s cube is, he can see in the shower. Three guys ran into there and started stabbing this dude up against the window. I just ran away. You can’t forget things like that. I’ve seen inmates on the flakka, and guards will beat them up. I’ve seen guards kick and punch a guy handcuffed behind his back on his stomach. It’s just crazy.

Some of it may seem like exaggeration. But it’s 100 percent true. I’ve already seen one doctor and they put me on antidepressants, medication for my nightmares and panic attacks. It’s hard to adjust back after that. 

I always thought prison was about rehabilitation. I know some people are there for messed up charges, and they’ll be there the rest of their lives. I’ve struggled with drugs for my entire life, and I messed up and used my ex’s credit card to buy a carton of cigarettes. I violated probation, and they sent me down there. 

I’m 29, and I’ve struggled with opiates since I got my wisdom teeth removed when I was 17. For punishment for getting caught with drugs, they send people like me, drug addicts, to prison and lock them in a room with a bunch of drugs, and expect them to get out and be functional members of society. When you have people waiting to rape you and kill you on a daily basis … that’s what pisses me off so bad when Kay Ivey says it’s an Alabama problem and we need Alabama solutions. She must not know how big of an Alabama problem it is.

In my mind, it sounds so horrible, it almost sounds far-fetched. I literally tried to get help, and they never helped. It sounds unbelievable. But it’s true. Not everybody there is bad. A good number of us come back home and are driving down the street bringing their girlfriend some flowers, like I am today. And I can’t tell her what I experienced, because I’m afraid it would make me look like less than a man. I don’t really want to think about it. I don’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to believe it happened. I know this has happened to a lot of people, and they may not have the wits to hold people accountable. 

This is not okay. This is barbaric. It’s just hell.

We would like to thank the Montgomery Advertiser for the content. Click HERE to view the original comprehensive article.

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