Prisons

“A pattern of neglect”

Stabbing and suicide reported at the troubled prison at the center of the inmate strike

Stabbing and suicide reported at Alabama prison where inmate strike began

The Alabama prison at the center of the largest inmate labor strike in U.S. history continues to be plagued by violence.

One inmate at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility was hospitalized after he was stabbed in a melee that injured three other prisoners, and another died in an apparent suicide while in solitary confinement, Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton confirmed to local news outlet AL.com on Wednesday.

An ongoing strike by inmates fed up with poor conditions and forced labor that began Sept. 9 at Holman has now spread to at least 50 facilities across 12 states. Guards at Holman also joined the work stoppage last month after a corrections officer was stabbed during an altercation in the facility’s dining hall.

The maximum-security prison is known as “The Slaughterhouse” and “The House of Pain” because of its reputation for violence. State data from August shows that 21 inmates have been seriously injured in assaults by other prisoners so far this year. The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into Alabama’s prisons amid allegations of unchecked violence, sexual abuse, overcrowding, and poor living conditions.

When the inmates at Holman went on strike last month, refusing to show up for their jobs inside the prison, a lack of security was among their grievances. “Dormitories have become ‘WAR ZONES’ where there is no security,” wrote the Free Alabama Movement, an inmate advocacy group, in a September blogpost on behalf of Holman inmates.

The apparent suicide of 26-year-old Holman inmate Robert Deangelo Carter occurred on Oct. 9. Carter, known by the nickname “Swole,” was reportedly found “hanging from a bed sheet” in his solitary confinement cell. He’d been serving a life sentence for murder since 2013.

Five prisoners in Alabama have died by suicide so far this year, including four at Holman, according to state data. The Free Alabama Movement claims all four suicides at Holman happened in solitary confinement, and blamed the incidents on a lack of appropriate mental health care at the facility.

“There is no doubt a pattern of neglect,” wrote the Free Alabama Movement after Carter’s death. “There’s been numerous reports from the men at Holman that there is no security, no way to communicate to staff, and intentional ignoring of complaints in relation to conditions and medical issues.”

The Alabama Department of Corrections did not respond to multiple requests for comment by VICE News.

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