Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison

Since opening its doors on December 15, 1969, Alabama’s William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, has been a bastion of violence, fear, pain, and baleful human suffering.

Built on a shoestring budget of five million dollars during Governor Lurleen Wallace’s administration, it took just five years for Holman prison’s perpetually overcrowded, unsafe and unsanitary conditions to draw the ire of federal officials. In an article titled, “Court closes Alabama prison gates,” dated August 30, 1975, The St. Petersburg Times (now The Tampa Bay Times), in neighboring Florida, reported that two federal district court judges, William Brevard Hand and Frank M. Johnson, Jr., ordered Alabama to stop sending prisoners to Holman (and three other prisons) due to overcrowding and the accompanying inhumanity, violence and other perils that brings.

Forty-one years later, nothing has changed.

Connor Sheets for al.com writes on October 20, 2016, that “[v]iolence continues to rage at Alabama’s notorious William C. Holeman Correctional facility in Atmore. In just the past two weeks, a Holman inmate was stabbed during a four-way fight and another died of an apparent suicide.” These incidents come “less than two weeks after the Department of Justice launched an investigation into violence, sex abuse, overcrowding and other issues at Alabama’s prisons.” Two weeks earlier, al.com’s Christopher Harress, reported that “[a]s many as nine corrections officers…

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