Holman Correctional Facility, Atmore, Alabama
March 11-12, 2016
Prison staff intervene in a conflict between two groups of prisoners. The prisoners respond by attacking the guards. Warden Carter Davenport is stabbed during the altercation. Staff retreat and prisoners destroy a large amount of prison property, sending pictures and videos out to supporters and media using contraband phones. They get keys from a guard control station and unlock other dorms to free other prisoners, some of whom join in and set up barricades. When emergency response teams arrive with shotguns, the prisoners surrender.
What began as a confrontation between prisoners from different regions of Alabama – namely, B’ham and Montgomery, with B’ham being the largest – escalated into two short riots against the pigs. After the prisoners squashed the beef among themselves without any violence, two pigs ran into C-dorm, which houses 114 prisoners and was informed that there was no problem and everything was under control.
One pig (Tate) tried to bogart his way through a crowd of prisoners and was immediately stabbed a number of times. After the two pigs ran out the dorm, one bloodied the warden, Carter Davenport, who has a reputation as an extremely sadistic, disrespectful, and nasty scumfuck fascist, who was recently removed from his post as warden at St. Clair maximum security prison for assaulting a prisoner, and reassigned as warden at Holman in 2015. He was stabbed after entering C-dorm like some kind of god.
Prisoners went on a joyous spree of fucking things up. Windows were bust, mesh wire kicked out, control units seized, keys found in one control unit, dorms opened up to let other prisoners out, fires set, barricades set up. Prisoners in C-dorm started shooting videos on cell phones, calling the media and family.
By Saturday morning, the riot team was on site and preparing to enter with shotguns and in full gear. They eventually entered the prison in riot gear, carrying the shotguns. We have no defense against guns, so everyone returned to their dorms, but the riot team didn’t enter from the front but the back door of C-dorm, shooting their tear gas. Eventually everyone was restrained in plastic cuffs and moved to another building while half of the riot team returned to the dorms to search for knives, cellphones, and those who participated in the rebellion, and to simply trash and destroy our property. They destroyed our locker boxes, threw our property all over the place, confiscated commissary products, plastic bowls, cups, etc. Everyone was eventually moved back to their dorms and made to lay down on steel bunks. Things were quiet until new mesh wire was replaced, new locks replaced. The pigs placed a chain and locks on dorm cell doors to keep us in.
Prisoners started talking about getting their shit together and relating to each other differently. After the riot team left the premises, prisoners in C-dorm started organizing squads to attack those prisoners who were stealing. After beating one prisoner for stealing, the pigs tried to enter the dorm to get those prisoners who did the beating. All the prisoners in C-dorm started throwing whatever they could find at the pigs, and the second riot was underway, with the new mesh wire kicked out, chained door broken open, control units retaken, fires reset, etc.
Again, the riot team re-entered the prison, eventually restraining everyone with plastic cuffs, marched us all outside onto the basketball court while the dorm was searched again. While handcuffed behind our backs with our faces against the fence, the riot team started grabbing us randomly from behind and throwing us on the concrete basketball court and beating us. We were eventually returned to our dorm. We received no medical care, even thought it was obvious that some of us needed medical attention.
Not everyone took part in the riots. As a matter of fact, only one dorm really participated. Two of the dorms, the so-called “Old Folks” dorm (D) and the “New Beginning” dorm (A) vehemently refused to participate and actually threatened some prisoners who tried to open their door. They placed a chain and lock on their dorm door to keep us out. Prisoners in A dorm used their cell phones to call prison officials to notify them that they were not involved in the rebellion.
Subsequently, the media entered the prison with the governor and other officials and attempted to write their own narrative as to why the rebellion took place. They chalk it all up to overcrowding, but prisoners themselves know that the real cause of the rebellion was/is about freedom from domination and control. There is much more to say about the dynamics of the rebellion and will be written by those who participated and not the fascist scumfuck pigs or corporate media.
At the time of this writing, things are quiet, but the prisoners in C-dorm still refuse to allow the pigs to become comfortable and are still rebellious. People have disappeared, one is in a coma, the prison is on lockdown until June it’s reported, and there is still to be more transfers. But right now, the spirit of rebellion continues. It ain’t over yet.
“It Ain’t Over Yet,” Anarchy Live!, April 15, 2016.
“Holman Correctional Riot,” AL.com, image gallery, March 14, 2016.
“Alabama prison riot: Warden, guard stabbed in uprising at Holman Correctional Facility,” AL.com, March 12, 2016.
“Video of Prisoners rioting at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore Alabama,” Human Rights Defense Center, YouTube, March 12, 2016.