SPLC: Suicide Crisis in Alabama Prisons

Sen. Cam Ward: "Rate is higher than it should be."

AP-AL–Inmate Suicides
Advocacy group: Alabama has prison suicide crisis

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – An advocacy group says Alabama officials have failed to address a rising suicide rate in state prisons despite a federal court order to improve conditions for mentally ill inmates.

Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen said Friday it’s an emergency the state must address.

The organization represents inmates in a lawsuit over mental health care and said there have been 13 suicides in 14 months.

The center criticized the state’s developing effort to build or lease new prisons, saying money would be better spent on staffing.

Alabama Gov. Ivey is expected to soon announce a construction proposal.

Sen. Cam Ward chairs a prison oversight committee and agreed the suicide rate is “higher than it should be.” But Ward said the state is trying to address the issue.

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Categories: Montgomery, News, Statewide