Alabama inmates protest, post videos to Internet
Work stoppage was related to a series of YouTube videos that show inmates describing conditions in prisons
By Tim Lockette
The Anniston Star
MONTGOMERY — A nonviolent strike by inmates at three Alabama prisons is winding down, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections said, but some inmates could face charges after posting videos to the Internet.
Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett said Tuesday that some inmates at Holman Prison, St. Clair Correctional Facility and Elmore Correctional Facility have refused to work at their prison jobs over the last week.
The protest started in the middle of last week, Corbett said, though all inmates at Elmore were back at work Tuesday. Corbett said the number of Holman inmates refusing to work has gone down in the last few days.
Corbett confirmed the work stoppage was related to a series of YouTube videos, all with the title "Free Alabama Movement," that show inmates describing conditions in prisons.
State officials have long acknowledged that the state's prisons are overcrowded. Currently the state holds more than 25,000 inmates in prisons built for slightly more than 13,000.
Corbett said he hadn't examined all the videos thoroughly, but he confirmed that at least some of them were filmed within an Alabama prison. All appear to have been filmed with a cell phone.
Use of a cell phone by a prison inmate is a felony in Alabama. Corbett said inmates appearing in the videos could face charges. He said the prison system may also pursue charges against anyone on the outside who supplied those inmates with a cell phone.
"If somebody on the outside supplies a cell phone to an inmate, that's a felony," Corbett said.