YouTube videos filmed by inmates gives new look at violence, drug use inside Alabama prisons
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A YouTube Channel is giving us a new look at what some prisoners are experiencing inside Alabama prisons every day. How do we know? They’re shooting it on illegal cellphones and posting these clips, some going back more than four years.
One video uploaded in 2018 shows inmates with Alabama Department of Corrections-issued clothing beating another inmate. A second video of this same incident appears to show at least one other inmate videoing this same beating on another contraband phone.
Another video uploaded a couple of months later shows an inmate slapping another while threatening him and warning him of the consequences of crossing his gang even after he’s released, saying “It only takes one phone call.”
Maybe the most disturbing theme throughout the most recently uploaded videos is the use of a drug called “flakka.” That’s a synthetic drug similar to bath salts and, according to these videos, leaves inmates in a catatonic state, or rolling around on the floor, or stumbling around without any idea where they are or what they’re doing.
All of this happening inside what’s supposed to be a secure facility.
We’ve been reporting on contraband phones inside state prisons for more than six years, so we asked the ADOC for an interview to go over what we found, but they turned us down, saying the new prisons commissioner is still in the early stages of his tenure.
The ADOC spokesperson did say “Possession/use of a contraband cell phone by an inmate is criminal behavior. Contraband cell phones can also be used for other, more dangerous criminal activities. As such, the Department actively monitors for illegal cell phone use, seeking to eliminate contraband devices from our facilities and enforce law and policy for corrective action whenever possible. The presence of illegal cell phones, unfortunately, is a challenging and complex issue that affects every correctional system in the country.”
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