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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name U.S. v. Alabama PC-AL-0034
Docket / Court 2:15-cv-00368-MHT-TFM ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Civil Rights Division Archival Collection
Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In March of 1994, the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, (“DOJ”) began an investigation of the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Alabama pursuant to the Civil Rights of the Institutionalized Persons Act (“CRIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. The investigation ... read more >
In March of 1994, the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, (“DOJ”) began an investigation of the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Alabama pursuant to the Civil Rights of the Institutionalized Persons Act (“CRIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. The investigation consisted of three tours of the facility -- the first in late May and early June, the second in July, and the third August of 1994 -- which revealed unconstitutional conditions.

Mental health care services were nearly nonexistent at the facility. Mentally ill inmates in need of hospitalization remained in the prison. The facility showed deficiencies in access to medical care, medication management, access for the physically disabled, dental care, and chronic care programs. Inmates were subjected to unconstitutional disciplinary practices. The investigation also found repairs were required for the physical plant and that the food service program was unsanitary. Additionally, the facility was overcrowded and there were fire safety hazards. Some days, inmates were only provided with two meals for reasons of convenience.

In its March 1995 Notice of Findings, the Department of Justice made numerous recommendations, including the following:
  • Establish and implement policies and proceedings in order to provide adequate mental health treatment, including hiring sufficient mental health staff and renovating the mental health unit.
  • Medical triage conducted by qualified staff and nurses who are permitted to provide over-the-counter medications for minor complaints.
  • Inmates should not go without food for more than fourteen hours.
  • Periodic inspections of the physical plant should be conducted.
  • Smoke detectors provided for all housing areas.


According to the DOJ's 2002 annual CRIPA report to Congress, this matter was closed sometime in the 2002 fiscal year.

The DOJ opened another investigation into Tutwiler in January 2013, dealing with sexual abuse of prisoners. It is also coded as PC-AL-0034 on this website and detailed below.

On May 28, 2015, the DOJ, Civil Rights Division, filed a suit against the state of Alabama and its Department of Corrections (“ADOC”) for heinous sexual abuse committed by the ADOC's male officers at Tutwiler. The parties reached a settlement agreement and filed a joint motion to dismiss the case, which Judge Myron Thompson accepted on June 18, 2015.

The court consequently issued a consent decree and closed the case. The settlement was to be monitored by a designated independent monitor who began monitoring the case on September 17, 2015. She asked to be removed for personal reasons, and was replaced by another independent monitor on August 26, 2016. The settlement required the ADOC and Tutwiler to make recommended changes within the period of the filing of three compliance reports (to be filed every six months). The substantive part of the settlement agreement contained 13 sections: General Policies and Procedures; Camera Management; Staffing; Training; Inmate Education; Gender-Responsive Classification; Risk Assessment; Inmates' Right to Privacy; Reporting Allegations of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment; Official Response to an Allegation of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment; Referrals and Investigations; Staff Disciplinary Actions; Limited English Proficient (“LEP”) Inmates. Each section had additional subsections.

The policy section of the agreement, inter alia, required ADOC and Tutwiler to:
  • Develop, submit to the Monitor and DOJ for review, and implement policies and procedures regarding the management of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming inmates;
  • Comply with its policy that ensures women receive essential supplies;
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures that incorporate gender-responsive strategies, including policies and procedures governing the use of force against women inmates and discipline of women inmates;
  • Develop, submit to the Monitor and DOJ for review and implement facility-specific policies and operational practices specific to Tutwiler' s population regarding the Supervision and monitoring necessary to prevent inmates from being exposed to an unreasonable risk of harm from sexual abuse and harassment; and
  • Revise and/or develop and implement, as necessary, any other policies, practices, procedures, protocols, training curricula, and other written documents, including but not limited to, screening tools, logs, handbooks, manuals, and forms.


The first monitor report was filed on February 26, 2016 on the assessment period for May 28 - December 4, 2015. There, the monitor noted positive progress and grant of a 3-month extension for compliance on the general policies and procedures and training. The second monitor report was filed on August 25, 2016, which covered the period of January 1 to June 24, 2016. In it, the monitor stated that Defendant ADOC showed continued progress and showed “substantial compliance” in 37 sections of the agreement. The third monitor report was filed on March 28, 2017 on the assessment period of June 25 through December 31, 2016. During this period, the monitor noted that the defendant parties achieved “substantial compliance” in 39 sections of the agreement and “partial compliance” in 4 sections of the agreement. A fourth monitor report was filed on August 25, 2017 for the assessment period of January 1 through June 30, 2017. In the report, the monitor indicated steady and continuing progress by ADOC and Tutwiler, reaching “substantial compliance” with 40 sections and “partial compliance” with 3 sections of the agreement. Because the monitor has not yet established complete compliance by the defendants, we assume this case is ongoing as of February 2, 2018.

(There was also an earlier CRIPA matter involving Tutwiler, in the mid 1980s. For information, see PC-AL-0023.)

Soojin Cha - 05/20/2016
Angela Heverling - 05/09/2006
Kaley Hanenkrat - 02/02/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Reporting
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Disciplinary procedures
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Sanitation / living conditions
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Alabama Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2015 - 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
2:15-cv-00368-MHT-TFM (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0034-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Fiscal Year 2002 Activities Under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act
PC-AL-0034-0010.pdf | Detail
Date:
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Notice Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama
PC-AL-0034-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/29/1994
Assessment Report Letter re: Medical Health Services at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, Alabama
PC-AL-0034-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/1994
Medical Evaluation of the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, Alabama
PC-AL-0034-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/05/1994
Enviromental Health and Safety Survey of the Julia Tutweiler Prison, Montgomery, Alabama
PC-AL-0034-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/08/1994
Expert Penologist Report on the Julia Tutweiler Prison, Wetumpka, Alabama
PC-AL-0034-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/12/1994
Fire Safety Survey Report Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women (Wetumpka, Alabama) for Dept. of Justice
PC-AL-0034-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/01/1994
Supplemental Report Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women (Alabama)
PC-AL-0034-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/04/1994
Notice of Findings from Investigation of Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women
PC-AL-0034-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/27/1995
Investigation of the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women and Notice of Expanded Investigation
PC-AL-0034-0009.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/17/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-AL-0034-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion to Enter Settlement Agreement [ECF# 2]
PC-AL-0034-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 2-1]
PC-AL-0034-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [ECF# 10] (2015 WL 3796526) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0034-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/18/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 11] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0034-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/18/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment [Regarding Consent Decree] [ECF# 12] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0034-0008.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/18/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Monitor Report [ECF# 16-1]
PC-AL-0034-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/26/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Compliance Tool [ECF# 16-2]
PC-AL-0034-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/26/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Monitor's Third Compliance Report [ECF# 26]
PC-AL-0034-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Monitor's Fourth Compliance Report [ECF# 27]
PC-AL-0034-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/25/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Moorer, Terry F. (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0034-9000
Thompson, Myron Herbert (N.D. Ala., M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0034-0004 | PC-AL-0034-0005 | PC-AL-0034-0008 | PC-AL-0034-9000
Monitors/Masters Dennehy, Kathleen (Alabama)
PC-AL-0034-0019 | PC-AL-0034-0020
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abbate, Julie K. (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0003 | PC-AL-0034-9000
Adams, Jerusha Tatiana (Alabama)
PC-AL-0034-9000
Anderson, Robert G. (Mississippi)
PC-AL-0034-9000
Barrick, Andrew J. (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0012
Brown, Shanneta Y. (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0012
Cheng, Christopher N. (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0012 | PC-AL-0034-0013 | PC-AL-0034-0016 | PC-AL-0034-0018
Fleisher, Aaron S (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0003 | PC-AL-0034-9000
Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0003 | PC-AL-0034-9000
Kappelhoff, Mark (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0001 | PC-AL-0034-0002 | PC-AL-0034-0003 | PC-AL-0034-9000
Lopez, Zazy I (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0003 | PC-AL-0034-9000
Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0011
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0003 | PC-AL-0034-9000
Samuels, Jocelyn (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0009
Turner, James P. (District of Columbia)
PC-AL-0034-0018
Defendant's Lawyers Dunn, Jefferson S. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0034-0003 | PC-AL-0034-9000
Harmon, Bart Gregory (Alabama)
PC-AL-0034-9000
Hill, Anne A. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0034-9000

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