Corrections officers and prisoners in a jail in the US state of Alabama have launched a strike over shared concerns, a report says.
Known as “The Slaughterhouse,” William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore has been scene of a strike by prisoners since September 9.
According to a Tuesday report by VICE News, guard have also stopped showing up for work.
Out of the 16 guards needed at the facility per shift, only two showed up on a recent Saturday.
“You know, strike is a strong word,” said Timothy Curt Stidham, a former Holman correctional lieutenant. “But that’s really what they’re doing on their own terms: peaceful protest.”
According to VICE, “The inmates and the corrections officers have remarkably similar concerns: overcrowding, understaffing, squalid conditions, low pay, and a dangerous work environment.”
The move means the officers agree with the prisoners that the government is creating a hostile environment, according to Pastor Kenneth Glasgow from the inmate advocacy group Free Alabama Movement,
“What they’re saying is, ‘We’re not striking with the inmates, but we’re agreeing with them that the administration is creating a hostile environment that puts all of us in danger,”” Glasgow said.
Back in March when riots broke out at the jail, a warden and a corrections officer were stabbed.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, who visited the facility later, acknowledged that the situation was bad there.
“Alabama’s prison system is at a critical point,” he said. “A volatile mix of overcrowding and understaffing has created an environment that is dangerous to both inmates as well as the corrections officers who serve our state.”
Amid allegations of violence and sexual abuse both by inmates and the guards, two investigations are currently underway by the US Department of Justice.