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Inmates left behind in DOJ suit


The families of Alabama inmates can’t take part in a Department of Justice lawsuit over conditions in state prisons. A federal judge’s ruling means their claims over food and medical needs won’t be heard in the DOJ action.

Diyawn Caldwell is president of advocacy group Both Sides of the Wall. Her husband is a prisoner and that’s why she got involved with the issue.

“Upon me seeing the conditions and the treatment, there was no other choice but to get involved and try to fight for changes within the system," she said. "When you have a loved one that you see, we live this everyday, I don’t see how you can’t get involved.”

Caldwell says one of the main issues is over crowding of the prisons. Another is the lack of people getting parole.

“When you have people on top of each other, they have no room to breathe, no room to go anywhere, not able to go to programs, no contact with family, then that breeds violence. People get agitated," she said. "There’s an old saying: an idle mind is the devil's playground.”

Caldwell’s husband has been incarcerated for 17 years. She says that after seeing the conditions and the treatment of the prisoners, there was no way that she could not get involved.

Regarding the current prison strikes, a press release from the Department of Corrections says that all facilities have now resumed normal operations. 

Joe Moody is a senior producer and host for the APR newsroom. Before joining the team, Joe taught academic writing for several years nationally and internationally. He is a native of Montgomery and a proud Alabamian. He is currently studying library and information studies at the University of Alabama with a focus on archives. When he is not playing his tenor banjo, he enjoys listening to jazz records and 45s from the 1950s and 60s.
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