Improve Abysmal Conditions in Prison

Governor Robert Bentley at Holman Prison by Jamie Martin

Target: Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Goal: Address overcrowding and inhumane conditions at Holman Prison.

Following two violent uprisings against the warden and his guards, inmates at Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama have released a list of six demands. None of these demands have been addressed by Governor Robert Bentley in his $800 million dollar plan for prison reform. Instead, the Governor has called for the construction of four maximum-security facilities and the closing of all but two existing prisons. This is a major mistake. Governor Bentley must recognize the legitimate concerns of inmates at Holman, not by building new prisons, but by changing the way the penal system functions in his state.

The inmates at Holman are calling for federal assistance, the abolition of Habitual Felony Offender laws, and timely processing for parole-eligible individuals. They are asking that those who have served excessive sentences be released, that classes befitting of the 21st century be taught at the prison, and that financial compensation be provided for the mental and physical abuse they have endured. Governor Robert Bentley’s bill, which was recently approved by a State Senate Committee, fails to deal with these demands. It only promises increased security measures and more prison beds in a financially struggling state with one of the highest incarceration rates in the country.

Even if the prisons built through Governor Bentley’s reform plan are larger and more high-tech, there is little reason to believe that this will actually solve Alabama’s incarceration crisis. Overcrowding and violence at prisons such as Holman are the product of practices and policies that need to be completely overhauled. Only by responding to the issues brought forth by the inmates at Holman Prison can these problems be solved.

By signing the petition below, you can help urge Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to address the demands of inmates at Holman Prison.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Bentley,

The list of six demands released by inmates at Holman Prison must be addressed in your prison reform plans. Habitual Felony Offender Laws, delayed parole processing, and other such injustices need to be tackled.

Simply building more maximum-security prisons will not stem the tides of overcrowding and unrest that are currently overwhelming Alabama’s penal system. These problems are the result of a system that incarcerates too many people and then fails to meet their needs.

I urge you to respond to the concerns raised by inmates at Holman Prison by including their demands in your plans for prison reform in Alabama. Doing so would be a step in the right direction towards improving conditions at Holman and towards bettering the state’s penal system as a whole.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jamie Martin

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