Over the past week, four officers at Limestone Correctional Facility in Harvest, Alabama, have been arrested on charges associated with facilitating illicit contraband inside the prison.
According to AL.com, Alex Andrews, Andrew Taylor Roy, John Paul Ketterman, and Shamarion Dozier resigned from the Alabama Department of Corrections and turned themselves in to the Limestone County Sheriff following a corruption investigation at the prison.
Mr. Andrews has been charged with seven counts of bribery of public servants and seven counts of use of official position for personal gain. The charges stem from reports that he accepted cash for payment in connection with contraband inside Limestone between July 1 and November 3 of this year.
The other three officers also face multiple charges of promoting prison contraband, use of office for personal gain, and bribery.
On November 29, ADOC captain Deaundra Johnson and former ADOC lieutenant Centuaria Olds were arrested and charged with multiple counts of bribery and using a state position for personal gain.
Ms. Olds was arrested last year on charges of bribery, with court records alleging that she brought contraband into Bibb Correctional Facility in exchange for money.
In 2019, the Department of Justice notified state officials that ADOC had demonstrated an “inability to control the flow of contraband into and within the prisons, including illegal drugs and weapons.”
The Justice Department has found that the flow of illegal drugs within Alabama’s prisons is not the fault of a few officers or confined to single prisons. Instead, it is connected to deep and widespread deficiencies described by one former U.S. Attorney as “serious, systemic, and in need of fundamental and comprehensive change.”
In a lawsuit filed against Alabama and ADOC in December 2020, federal prosecutors stated that “the failure to prevent the introduction of illegal contraband leads to prisoner-on-prisoner violence.”
Federal investigators found that the use of methamphetamines, Fentanyl, synthetic cannabinoids, and other substances is prevalent in Alabama’s prisons. “Prisoners using illicit substances often harm others or become indebted to other prisoners,” the lawsuit alleges. “The inability to pay drug debts leads to beatings, kidnappings, stabbings, sexual abuse, and homicides.”
These dangers in turn have led to skyrocketing mortality within the state’s prison system, where approximately one in five deaths this year have been linked to homicide, suicide, or overdose.