Corruption, neglect, and violence lead to dead White inmates inside Alabama prison system

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Springville, Alabama – A White inmate inside St. Clair Correctional Facility was found dead, just days after expressing fears to the Alabama Department of Corrections of being targeted for imminent violence, according to an attorney.

On January, 38-year-old Klifton Adam Bond was serving a 20-year sentence for robbery and burglary convictions when his family learned from another inmate—not prison officials—that their loved one had been brutally beaten in the head with a pipe and stabbed by another inmate on Nov. 6.

The attack on Bond occurred while he was being housed at Donaldson Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Bessemer, and his family was only made aware after he had undergone brain surgery for his injuries.

According to Bond’s aunt, Barbara Anne Turner, she and Bond’s mother, Rebecca Crafton, had repeatedly called the prison to obtain information on his treatment and condition following this revelation but seemingly went ignored by authorities.

38-year-old Klifton Adam Bond was killed inside the Alabama State prison system, after expressing fears of violence from other inmates. After his murder, Bond’s family was only notified after other inmates, not authorities, had informed them. Photo: Alabama Daily News.

After Bond was transferred to the infirmary at Kilby Correctional Facility in Montgomery, the family was informed they were not permitted to see him or talk to the medical professionals treating him.

Crafton and her attorney had asked the ADOC to transfer Bond to the Hamilton Aged and Infirmed Center, a prison for elderly inmates or those with health conditions. On Dec. 28, Faraino again requested his transfer in an email to ADOC, noting Bond’ recent comments of being in imminent danger:

“I am writing to alert you to the fact that Klifton Adam Bond has reason to believe that he is in danger because of certain officers,” Faraino notified ADOC in the email, which she shared with ADN.

“Other inmates have told Adam that these employees were discussing wanting to get him ‘off camera’ so that they could retaliate against him for trying to get medical attention for another inmate. Adam is not someone who admits to being fearful, even when he was attacked last month, but I do believe he has genuine fear of an imminent attack.”

Instead, Bond was transferred to St. Clair where he was found unresponsive in his cell exactly one week after Faraino’s email. Now, Faraino seeks to halt Bond’s autopsy as she is pursuing separate litigation against the state regarding how state-ordered autopsies are conducted on inmates, particularly those in which inmates’ organs have turned up missing. One such case involves former inmate Brandon Dotson.

On Dec. 14, Bond’s mother and aunt attended a meeting of the Alabama Legislature’s prison oversight committee, joining other relatives in exposing to lawmakers the rising number of beatings, rapes, and murders their loved ones are subjected to in Alabama prisons.

“He may have done some things wrong,” Turner stated at the December meeting. “And he was there to serve his time. We understand that. But he did not deserve to be beaten with a lead pipe on his head. Stabbed all over his body. And we as family, we should have rights. He may belong to the state of Alabama but he also belongs to us.”

Among the attendees was Kevin Hyatt, whose nephew, Louis Christopher Latham, 40, was taken off life support and succumbed to injuries sustained from a brutal beating by two other inmates in October of last year over a $10 debt at Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton.

White 40-year-old Christopher Louis Latham Jr was beaten with a weight at Staton Correctional Facility over a ten-dollar debt owed to fellow inmates. In addition to being “beaten beyond recognition,” Latham suffered a traumatic brain injury and was taken off of life support sometime later. Photo: NY Post

Latham was seriously injured in a separate attack just two months prior at Staton Correctional Facility after being beaten with a weight. The medical staff at ADOC never treated Latham for a brain injur. Despite being moved to a hospital, it was still uncertain whether the medical staff found any signs of brain damage. Hyatt also claimed that the warden of Ventress, Karen William, informed him that the prison could not offer protective custody due to a lack of empty cells following the August attack.

“You can tell he had a hard time,” Hyatt said. “He did fight back though.”

Latham was about two years from finishing a 21-year sentence for robbery and rehabilitated himself from a drug addiction he started during his incarceration. Hyatt also said Latham had plans to relocate to Georgia and work for him in the automotive business upon his release.

“The biggest failing, honestly, is their classification system,” Hyatt explained. “Instead of moving an inmate into a prison with an empty bed, they should have made sure that that inmate wasn’t a danger to the other inmates. In other words, a violent offender with a nonviolent offender. That’s what happened to Chris.”

Furthermore, Hyatt revealed to ABC 3340 News how families were being extorted to keep their incarcerated loved ones safe. The outlet confirmed with sources the rampant extortion inmates facilitate using contraband cell phones to contact families demanding money and threatening to harm their imprisoned loved ones.

That same month, Staton became the site of a gruesome case in which another White inmate, this time 22-year-old Daniel Williams was drugged, sexually assaulted, and tortured for two days. Like the case of Bond, news of Staton’s victimization originated from other inmates and some medical staff instead of prison authorities, according to attorney Andrew Menefee. Menefee is preparing to file a civil lawsuit against the ADOC on behalf of Williams’ family.

The family was initially told by the prison warden, Joseph Headley, that Williams had merely suffered from a drug overdose. They were not informed until three days after he was found unresponsive in his cell that their loved one was brain-dead at Jackson Hospital. Additionally, ADOC had refused Menefee’s request to take photos of Williams’ body to use as evidence, instead assuring him that ADOC internal affairs took pictures.

22-year-old Daniel Williams was reportedly drugged, raped, and tortured for two days by fellow inmates just days before his scheduled release. He was serving a 12-month sentence for second degree theft, and his family had not been notified by authorities that their loved one had been victimized. Photo: NY Post

Williams, a father of two infants, was serving a one-year sentence for a non-violent offense and was scheduled for release just two weeks before the fatal assault.  

His fiancée, Amber Williams, told WVTM about their daughter together: “How am I supposed to tell her about her daddy? Like, why isn’t he here? Why didn’t he ever come home?”

According to Terry Williams, the 22-year-old was taken off of life support due to “little brain activity” left after the attack. Four days later, Williams would pass away.

“I called the warden, and I cussed him. I said, ‘Dude, you know this is not an overdose case? You know exactly what happened. How is this crap going to happen like this?’ Well, it’s under investigation right now. And that’s the last time I even talked to the warden,” his father also told WVTM.

“I set up a GoFundMe account to get him cremated, it’s like a thousand bucks. I wanted him to be buried by my mom, but that’s, like, seven grand, you know? I know I can’t afford that,” Terry said.

Donations via the GoFundMe link are still ongoing.  

Not even two weeks following Williams’ death, a 43-year-old White inmate, Brandon Clay Dotson, was being considered for parole release when he was found dead at Ventress Correctional Facility, the same prison where Latham was fatally beaten.

Dotson had been incarcerated for 19 years as part of a 99-year sentence for a burglary conviction and parole violation. The harsh sentence was referred to as “tantamount to a death sentence,” in a federal lawsuit filed against the ADOC by his daughter Audrey Marie Dotson and mother Audrey South.

43-year-old White inmate, Brandon Clay Dotson, was found dead inside Ventriss Prison. His cause of death remains undeterminable after his body was returned to his family without a heart. Photo:

In Dotson’s case, the plaintiffs claim that family members had “spent days attempting to claim his body, in hopes of holding his funeral before Thanksgiving Day,” after being notified by Warden Karen Williams of Dotson’s death. According to reports, Warden Williams—who is Black—“expressed surprise,” remarking that many families do not claim inmates’ bodies and occasionally aren’t even informed of their deaths. The suit further alleges his body was so “severely decomposed” due to improper storage that upon receipt an open-casket funeral was ruled out.  

The inmate’s cause of death remains undeterminable as his heart was allegedly removed while in state custody, a finding only uncovered by a private pathologist hired by the family who had “suspected foul play.” The first autopsy was not provided to the family at the time, their lawyer relayed to People.

‘There are very few things that shock me anymore in this system. But there is something so grotesque and disrespectful and unacceptable about taking the organ from a person without the family knowing,’ stated the family’s lawyer, Lauren Faraino.

The lawsuit goes on to describe how Dotson, similar to the case of Bond, requested help days before his death, claiming that another inmate had been targeting him for violence. The suit additionally noted the severe overcrowding in Alabama prisons which continuously leads to a lack of inmate supervision.

In addition to filing the suit to “seek the immediate return of Mr. Dotson’s heart” for examination by an autopsy pathologist and proper interment, the plaintiffs seek to hold the defendants accountable for “wrongful death, violation of constitutional rights, fraud, negligence, conversion, trespass to chattel, interference with the right of burial or disposition of the deceased, willful interference with remains, intentional and negligent mishandling of a corpse, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, outrage and unjust enrichment.”

The complaint named ADOC Commissioner John Q. Hamm, ADOC Chief Deputy Commissioner of Corrections Greg Lovelace, and Ventress Correctional Facility Warden Karen Williams among others as defendants.

A comparable instance was made public earlier this year when Charlene Drake filed a letter to the court saying that the corpse of her father—Charles Edward Singleton—was missing all of his internal organs, including his brain.  

Black Ventress Correctional Facility Warden Karen Williams. Photo: ADOC.

An autopsy for Singleton, who died in custody in November 2021, was performed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Pathology. Drake further stated in the letter that she had never been contacted by the warden to approve the removal of her father’s organs.

“Alabama's prison system is characterized by cruelty,” Lauren Faraino, who represents Dotson’s mother and sister as the plaintiffs, said to People in an interview. “From the moment a person enters the Alabama Department of Corrections, they are thrown into a lawless world of beatings, rapes, drugs and extortion. No other prison in the United States comes close to Alabama's in terms of violence, suicides and overdoses. We are now learning that the horrors do not end at death.”

Like “97% of the people who come up for parole in Alabama,” Faraino confirmed to Law & Crime that Dotson was ultimately denied parole, though it is unclear if he knew the results before he died.

The sharp decline in the rate of paroles granted by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles arguably contributed to the death of another White inmate, 44-year-old Christopher Mount who was found strangled to death on Mother’s Day 2023 at Easterling Correctional Facility in Clio.

Mount was placed in a segregation cell with William Lynn Smith, 48, who was incarcerated on a 37-year sentence for choking his girlfriend to death in 2017. Prison segregation cells are designed to provide safekeeping for inmates faced with threats of violence, mental illness, or suicidal tendencies.

“Alabama's prison system is characterized by cruelty. From the moment a person enters the Alabama Department of Corrections, they are thrown into a lawless world of beatings, rapes, drugs and extortion. No other prison in the United States comes close to Alabama's in terms of violence, suicides and overdoses. We are now learning that the horrors do not end at death.”

Lauren Faraino, Attorney

Mount, a father of two, was on suicide watch following his second parole denial in Feb. 2021 at which point he had served half of his 30-year sentence for armed robbery, assault, burglary, theft, and a drug charge.

“My daughter has nightmares and wakes up screaming and crying because all she sees is her dad being beaten and strangled and screaming for help,” said Christy Martin, mother to Mount’s 17-year-old daughter, MaKayla. “We were supposed to have him home in our arms and not in an urn.”

Despite the prolonged separation, MaKayla said her father was a constant presence in her life and constantly communicated via letters, phone, and in-person visits, demonstrated in a letter penned by her father:

“I love you with all my heart and soul and dream of the day I can tell you that face to face. Love you kids, so much! Head up! Chin out! And Never stop swinging! You got this!”

44-year-old White father of two, Christopher Mount, was issued a death sentence" when he was placed in an isolation cell with a convicted murderer who later killed him. Mount had experienced thoughts of suicide after he was denied parole and was placed on special watch. Photo: Alabama Appleseed.

“As a matter of policy, inmates placed in a segregation cell are to be monitored continually by corrections officers to ensure the inmates’ safety,” the lawsuit filed by family members of Mount states.

Instead, corrections officer Jimmie L. Brayboy, Jr. ignored Smith’s warning that he would kill Mount if they were not separated and did not intervene even as Mount was being beaten and strangled to death, the suit alleges.

The ADOC and the Alabama Attorney General’s office—which is representing Brayboy—said they could not comment on the case.

Less than a month after the deadly attack, Mount's alleged killer, Smith, was also found lifeless in his cell. The Department revealed his death was ruled a suicide.

At the Legislature’s prison oversight committee, family members urged for immediate changes as exemplified by Latham’s uncle Kevin Hyatt to five sitting lawmakers: “Guys you’ve got to do something about what’s going on inside. All of y’all seem like very intelligent individuals. You have data, you have emails, you have pictures. There’s no wonder you’ve got a shortage of correctional officers. Who would want to work in an environment where if I go to work today, I could be that statistic?”

“It was not overcrowding or buildings or low staff that created the culture of violence and incompetence that led to Mr. Williams death,” Carla Crowder, executive director of Alabama Appleseed, told lawmakers about the tragic case of Daniel Williams.

A report from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published in 2018 revealed Alabama’s prisons to be the deadliest in the nation. At least 325 individuals died in the custody of the ADOC in 2023—a 20% increase from 2022 based on statistics from the ADOC website.

“My daughter has nightmares and wakes up screaming and crying because all she sees is her dad being beaten and strangled and screaming for help...We were supposed to have him home in our arms and not in an urn.”

Christy Martin, victim's family

A lawsuit and investigation against the state by the DOJ revealed that since 2019, there have been over 1,000 deaths in Alabama prisons. That case is scheduled to begin in November 2024 during which DOJ lawyers will attempt to prove that the state “fails to provide adequate protection from prisoner-on-prisoner violence and prisoner-on-prisoner sexual abuse, fails to provide safe and sanitary conditions, and subjects prisoners to excessive force at the hands of prison staff,” as alleged in the litigation.

Ranging from the widespread accessibility of drugs to unchecked violence, corrupt prison staff, and overcrowded and unsanitary environments, conditions are so dire that one Alabama judge referred to the conditions of state prisons as “third world.”

ADOC has yet to announce any steps being taken to reduce the number of violent incidents or deaths that have gripped Alabama’s lockups.

A dormitory setting found in Alabama's Easterling Correctional Facility. Places like Easterling force overcrowded inmate populations to live in close proximity as Correctional staff continue to face challenges with recruitment and the spread of illicit contraband. Photo: ADOC.

Assurances were given, however, by Gov. Kay Ivey to collaborate with the DOJ on ensuring “that our mutual concerns are addressed,” in a statement released six weeks after the initial 56-page DOJ report. The grievances were not addressed.

In July 2020, the DOJ followed up with a second report outlining the prevalent use of excessive, even deadly force inflicted on inmates by corrections officers, and another filing in May 2021 detailed the ADOC’s failure to tackle the main facilitator of the widespread violence: contraband.

White inmates—and even officers assigned to protect them—continue to be the target of ruthless victimization all across the United States. In 2022, West Virginia's infamous Southern Regional Jail, once again drew media attention for a spate of multiple dead inmates—many of them White. In October, a rookie White corrections officer with only 6 months on the job, was killed in a brutal shank attack by a convicted Black murderer.

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