BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Corrections has announced that family and friends will not be allowed to visit inmates across the state this weekend as protests over prison conditions continue.
A statement from ADOC says that visitation access was canceled due to the “impact on staff resources” as inmates in most male prisons have refused to work this week. The release says that inmates have been informed of the news already.
This comes just a day after ADOC also announced that the work strikes have led prisons to switch to a “holiday meal schedule” since Monday, which only gives inmates two meals a day rather than the typical three. In that same announcement, ADOC argued that the move was “not a retaliatory measure” but rather a logistical one to ensure other services are being provided. Officials did add that regular meal service would return once the stoppages ended.
Protests began earlier this week with crowds gathering outside of ADOC headquarters in Montgomery. Demonstrators attempted to give officials a list of demands for improved conditions for those serving sentences in prisons across Alabama. Some of the demands include parole reform and repeal of the habitual offender law which imposes longer prison sentences each time an offender commits a felony.
A statement from a spokesperson in Gov. Kay Ivey’s office commented on the work stoppages impacting prisons Tuesday saying that the demands of the inmates and protestors were “unreasonable” and that construction of new prisons will improve conditions.
ADOC says that they will not comment further on the changes made inside prisons due to the stoppages to ensure safety for inmates, staff and the public.