MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The recent deaths of two Alabama inmates within a day of each other has caused the Alabama Department of Corrections to look at how they can handle violent issues within the state’s prison system.
According to a release sent out by ADOC Monday, the department’s Intelligence and Investigations Division is investigating “an alleged use of force incident” that happened Nov. 30 which resulted in the death of Michael Smith, 55, an inmate at Ventress Correctional Facility. ADOC stated that Smith was pronounced dead Dec. 5 at Dale Medical Center in Montgomery after being removed from life support.
A day later, 48-year-old Willie Leon Scott, an inmate at Holman Correctional Facility, was pronounced dead at Baptist Medical Center South, also in Montgomery. Scott’s injuries were the result of injuries he sustained during an incident at Holman on Dec. 4.
As a result of the inmate deaths, ADOC is now taking immediate actions to handle violent issues within the state’s prisons, forming a task force to examine those issues.
“To address use of force concerns, we are implementing an action plan and dispatching ADOC’s Training and Professional Development Division instructors to teach an on-the-job procedure refreshment course within our prisons to our correctional officers,” said Matthew Brand, ADOC Associate Commissioner of Administrative Services. “This action plan also integrates and expands ADOC’s Training, Professional Development, and Leadership Academy.”
The release stated that ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn has directed the task force to assess measures including “tactics and techniques” reinforcement training programs, health and wellness interventions for correctional officers and staff, additional inmate rehabilitation programs and resources, and the reexamination of enhanced surveillance measures such as the possible use of body cameras by on-duty correctional officers. Dunn has directed the new internal task force to integrate these actions into the ADOC’s three-year strategic plan.
“My department is taking swift and substantive action to create safer working and living conditions, better ensure policy adherence, and deter unacceptable behavior by both inmates and ADOC staff,” said ADOC Commissioner Dunn.
Following notification of inmate Smith’s death, The release stated that Dunn directed two corrections officers to be placed on mandatory leave following Smith’s death, effective immediately.
“While details regarding these cases are limited at this time, additional information will be made available at the conclusion of the investigations,” the release stated.
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