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Ivey's office responds to prison protest: Inmate demands are 'unreasonable,' unwelcomed in Alabama

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Gov. Kay Ivey

Gov. Kay Ivey signing prison lease agreements

A spokesperson for Gov. Kay Ivey's office responded to an ongoing strike among Alabama inmates Monday, calling their demands "unreasonable" and unwelcome in the state. 

Communications Director Gina Maiola said Ivey remains, first and foremost, committed to ensuring public safety. She said protestors need to understand that many of their demands require legislative action that "will never happen in the state of Alabama."

Those demands include asking habitual offender and drive-by shooting laws to be amended, as well as changing sentencing laws, streamlining review processes and creating a statewide conviction integrity unit to investigate possible cases of wrongful incarceration.

"Some of these demands suggest that criminals like murderers and serial child sex offenders can walk the streets, and I can tell you that will never happen in the state of Alabama, where we will always prioritize the safety of our citizens," Maiola wrote in a statement Monday afternoon.

Inmates behind the protest say they want an end to "Alabama's systematic denial of human dignity and rights," alleging the Alabama Department of Corrections has done little to address the many issues they face.

The lack of action led to a strike at multiple prison facilities in the state Monday, as inmates refused to show up to work in prison kitchens, laundry rooms and janitorial departments.

Maiola noted ADOC Commissioner John Hamm has said all facilities remain operational despite the strike and that Ivey appreciates the correctional staff who work to keep inmates and the public safe. 

"Thanks to the Alabama Legislature, we can also look forward to the construction of new prison facilities that will create all-around better conditions to live, work and rehabilitate," Maiola said. "There has been no governor more focused on improving the state's corrections system and bolstering public safety than Governor Ivey."

Read more about Monday's strike here. Maiola's full statement is below:

First, I will point back to the Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm’s statement that “all facilities are operational and that there have been no disruption of critical services.”

Governor Ivey is, first and foremost, committed to ensuring public safety, plain and simple. These “demands” – as the protestors refer to them – are unreasonable and would flat out not be welcomed in Alabama. It is also important for these protestors to understand that a lot of their demands would require legislation, not unilateral action. Some of these demands suggest that criminals like murderers and serial child sex offenders can walk the streets, and I can tell you that will never happen in the state of Alabama where we will always prioritize the safety of our citizens.

Governor Ivey appreciates the work of the correctional staff – the boots on the ground – who come to work each day to serve the people of Alabama by keeping our inmates and the public safe. Thanks to the Alabama Legislature, we can also look forward to the construction of new prison facilities that will create all around better conditions to live, work and rehabilitate. There has been no governor more focused on improving the state’s corrections system and bolstering public safety than Governor Ivey.

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