Appalling Conditions In Houston County Jail

This blog was started in order to highlight the treatment of inmates whilst held in Houston County Jail Dothan, AL. Upon entering the Jail you may be subjected to the following conditions, we believe these to be unlawful, unconstitutional, inhumane and cruel and unusual punishments. Do they really expect us to stand by idly, thereby deeming this treatment of our citizens as acceptable?

  • Segregation/confinement for an indeterminate amount of time, used as a veiled threat or in retaliation for complaining about conditions or for being considered insubordinate or for even questioning officers about or requesting information
  • Showering/bathing conditions of female inmates in-particular in front of male officers through transparent curtains/cubicles, despite the Prison Rape Elimination Act’s standards for Prisons and Jails
  • Female inmates are physically checked by Jail Guards to prove that they are menstruating, before being issued sanitary towels or tampons. This degrading and inhumane treatment is in direct contradiction of PREA Laws
  • Fear and intimidation used as a method of control when enquiring about or trying to follow grievance procedures, especially for Alabama Department Of Corrections inmates
  • Forcibly made to have hair cuts, despite it being in compliance with ADOC rules and regulations

  • Unsanitary toilets that flush only once every 30 minutes, that are used by 20-30 inmates, and are frequently full of blood, dirty tampons/sanitary towels, faeces and urine, clearly an issue for the Centre for Disease Control and a serious risk to health
  • Basic needs are not met such as eating utensils or bowls, not even toilet paper is issued, inmates have to buy their own, many do not have the means to purchase it themselves or they simply do not have family or friends that they can call on that are able to put money on their accounts in order to buy these basic items, therefore drink cartons and meal trays are often used instead of the disgusting toilet facilities, this too is clearly an issue for the Centre for Disease Control and a serious risk to health
  • Phone calls from the Houston County Jail are via Global Tel*Link and cost $2.55 Per Connection Fee, $0.47.5 per minute with a service fee of $4.75 anytime you add money to an inmates phone account, plus taxes.
  • Alabama Department Of Corrections inmates are often collected weeks in advance before court hearings, they are collected at the end of the week and generally spend the weekend in confinement without access to a telephone etc. due to them “not being booked in” and held in docket. They are often made to sit upon cold concrete from 4am till 7pm as the seating matts are removed for unknown reasons. Surprisingly when eventually processed in on the following Monday morning they will show as being booked in on the preceding weekday of arrival, their photograph and information will then appear on the jails website, so clearly something is going on with the booking in process that leaves inmates in no uncertain terms as to what they can expect to be treated like, whilst at HCJ starting with segregation.
  • Excessively harsh use of restraints or the application of them, causing severe bruising on both fore arms and legs is common
  • Alabama Department Of Corrections inmates are often in a shockingly deteriorated state physically and mentally by the time they are removed from HCJ back to their respective prisons
  • The denial of access to appropriately qualified health care personnel, in a timely manner, for example the mental health personnel only visit HCJ once per month
  • The denial of access to telephony equipment for the deaf/hard of hearing whilst at HCJ
  • Inmates are given 1 sanitary wipe, with which they are expected to clean their cells with
  • Commissary accounts that are in credit are not refunded when an inmate leaves HCJ and no explanation is given of what happens to the balance
  • Denial of religious materials until you have been held for a certain amount of time
  • Exercise in any form is not permitted
  • Mattresses are removed from the metal beds at 4am and they are not returned until 7pm, even when inmates are locked in the cells all day long they are not allowed to lie down, they have to remain sat upright, anyone caught laying down even on the concrete is immediately placed in segregation.
  • The only hot water available for drinking is by collection from the shower and there are no appliances for heating or preparing meals that are purchased from the canteen
  • It is constantly extremely cold in the cells and living area’s, the bedding provided are not adequate for warmth either.
  • There is no access to the law library, the officers say that its because inmates destroy the books by using them for toilet paper, as HCJ does not issue toilet paper if you cannot afford to buy it
  • There is one TV in the communal area, that is mounted approximately 20 feet high on a wall, the screen is no bigger than that of a laptop computer. The officers find it amusing to have the sound so low that it cannot be heard, or they leave the On Screen Display up so that no programmes can be viewed anyway

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