Alabama prison authorities routinely underreport the number of fights, stabbings and beatings at the maximum-security Donaldson prison, lawyers for inmates said Wednesday. The Associated Press reported that Sarah Geraghty, an attorney representing the prisoners, said internal reports released by the Department of Corrections in a lawsuit show officials have failed to report dozens of attacks there. The state reported 40 assaults at Donaldson for the 12 months ending in April, but internal reports showed there were 126 violent acts during the period, she said.
The department reported only one assault with serious injury at the prison over the period, yet records show at least 16 Donaldson prisoners were taken to hospitals for injuries, including one prisoner who lost an eye and two who suffered collapsed lungs. Court documents and interviews with inmate relatives indicated two suicides at Donaldson that the department failed to report publicly, Geraghty said. A statement from Corrections Commissioner Richard Allen didn’t say which set of numbers is correct. But he denied any intentional underreporting of prison violence.