ATMORE, Ala. — A new development in the four-week nationwide prison strike by inmates in the U.S. federal and state prison systems unfolded last week after a number of correctional officers failed to report to work at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore on Sept. 24.
The Alabama Department of Corrections issued a statement on Sept. 26 that confirmed nine correctional officers did not report to work, with no mention of a strike. The department then released a statement on Sept. 27 reaffirming the fact that correctional officers did not express that they were part of the strike, nor did they express demands or grievances, according to AL.com.
Contradicting that statement, the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), an inmate advocacy group leading the nationwide strike, issued a statement on Sept. 24 that said, “ALL of the officers assigned to the second shift waged a historic work strike for the first time in the history of the Alabama Department of Corrections.”
FAM added that the officers had communicated their plans to FAM members, expressing their support for non-violent and peaceful demonstrations against the conditions at Holman. Officers, too, had complained about overcrowding as well as a need for a mass release, more education and rehabilitation programs, and a solution to issues such as disease and filth. Officers even criticized the lack of leadership from Commissioner Jeff Dunn and Grantt Culliver, according to the FAM statement.
No matter which side is more accurate, the fact that correctional officers did not report for the third shift on Sept. 24 resulted in officers from other correctional facilities having to come in and report for duty. The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee added to the situation by issuing a tweet last week that read: “2nd shift guards didn’t show up to work at Holman yesterday, joining #EndPrisonSlavery #prisonstrike, warden is pushing the meal cart.”