Alabama prisons are some of the most abusive and overcrowded in the country, with some prisons having twice as many inmates as they are designed to hold. They are also extremely understaffed, a situation that is creating a crisis for authorities. Alabama has a 1 to 11 inmate to guard ratio, compared to 1 to 6 in surrounding states. St. Clair Prison has 281 security positions budgeted for but only 196 employed, and 60% of officers leave within their first five years. It was locked down at least five times due to violent incidents in 2015.
Fifty-one percent of Alabama’s inmate population is serving time for nonviolent property and drug offenses. But the harsh conditions and brutality they have been enduring have created conditions that are perfect for the eruption of violence in prisons throughout the state. Prisoners have become more and more bold in resisting.