YouTube videos filmed by inmates provide new insight into violence and drug use in Alabama prisons
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – A YouTube channel is giving us a fresh look at what some prisoners go through every day in Alabama jails. How do we know? They shoot it on illegal cellphones and post these clips, some of them over four years old.
A video uploaded in 2018 shows inmates wearing clothing issued by the Alabama Department of Corrections beating another inmate. A second video of this same incident appears to show at least one other inmate filming this same beating on another contraband phone.
Another video uploaded a few months later shows an inmate slapping another while threatening them and warning them of the consequences of crossing their gang even after their release, saying ‘It only takes a phone call’ .
Perhaps the most disturbing theme of the most recently uploaded videos is the use of a drug called “flakka”. It’s a synthetic drug similar to bath salts and, according to these videos, leaves inmates in a catatonic state, or rolling on the floor, or stumbling around with no idea where they are or what they’re doing. .
This all happens inside what is supposed to be a secure facility.
We’ve been reporting on contraband phones in state prisons for over six years, so we asked ADOC for an interview to go over what we found, but they turned us down, saying that the new Commissioner of Prisons was still in the early stages of his term.
The ADOC spokesperson stated that “possession/use of a contraband cell phone by an inmate is criminal behavior. Smuggled cell phones can also be used for other more dangerous criminal activities. As such, the Department actively monitors illegal cell phone use, seeking to remove contraband devices from our facilities and to enforce law and policy for corrective action where possible. Unfortunately, the presence of illegal cell phones is a difficult and complex issue affecting every correctional system across the country.
Contact the WBRC FOX6 News On Your Side Investigation Team.
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