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Holman Correctional Facility Decommissioning Status Updates

Updates
Updates will be available every Tuesday at 11 am until the conclusion of the decommission.

ADOC Announces Plan to Partially Decommission
William C. Holman Correctional Facility
Commissioner Jeff Dunn accelerates plans to close Holman’s main facility due to critical infrastructure failures to ensure inmate, staff, and public safety

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – To ensure the ongoing safety and security of correctional staff, inmates, and the public, Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Commissioner Jeff Dunn today announced accelerated plans initiated in August 2018 to close and decommission the main facility at William C. Holman Correctional Facility – one of the Department’s oldest structural facilities. The decision to accelerate the existing plan was made swiftly and strategically by ADOC’s executive leadership upon learning of the daily interventions required to maintain deteriorating underground utility systems, which provide essential power, water, and sewer services, in order to keep the main facility operational.

“Since my arrival at the ADOC almost five years ago, this Department has been vocal about the pervasive and extreme dilapidation crippling facilities throughout the correctional system – and Holman Correctional Facility is no exception,” said ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn. “This is a real and serious issue that cannot be understated and, after learning the extent of the risks associated with continued maintenance attempts at Holman Correctional Facility, moving quickly on our plans to decommission was the right and only decision.”

The ADOC continuously monitors and performs risk analyses of its aging facilities in an effort to maintain critical systems across the correctional system. The current conditions within the Holman Correctional Facility tunnel, in which the main facility’s electrical, water, and sewer control systems are housed, now present increased safety concerns and a degree of risk to anyone who enters the tunnel, ultimately rendering ongoing maintenance or repair of these systems unsustainable.

“Protecting inmates, staff, and the general public is of paramount importance to the ADOC, and the 51-year-old Holman facility simply is no longer viable to house a large population of inmates,” added Dunn. “Band-aid solutions to any problem of this magnitude are temporary at best and cannot fix the root cause of our collective problem – Alabama’s prison infrastructure is failing. We are now projecting upwards of $800 million in deferred maintenance costs alone. This unavoidable issue reinforces the critical importance of Governor Ivey’s transformative and necessary plan to build three new correctional facilities.”

The main facility at Holman Correctional Facility houses general population and death row inmates, the cafeteria, the medical unit, the administrative suite, and the execution chamber, which is the only component of the main facility that will remain in use. Executions will not be affected, and the ADOC will take all necessary measures and precautions to maintain the integrity and safety of the chamber and its access points. The Department currently is working with third-party experts to accomplish this important endeavor.

Upon completion of the decommissioning process, approximately 422 general population inmates and 195 restrictive housing inmates will be relocated to other ADOC facilities. Approximately 150 of Holman Correctional Facility’s low-risk inmates serving life without parole sentences will be moved to the facility’s standalone E-dorm (formerly the faith-based dormitory) and continue to work at the prison’s tag and clothing plants. Holman Correctional Facility’s restrictive housing unit will be modified appropriately to house and serve the facility’s current 145 death row inmates, as well as 21 additional death row inmates who already have been transferred safely from Donaldson Correctional Facility as part of Phase 1 of this process. The restrictive housing unit, E-dorm, and the tag and clothing plants all have independent power, water, and sewage systems.

The exact details and timing of Phase 2, which encompasses the transfer of Holman Correctional Facility’s general and restrictive housing populations, will not be made public in advance for security purposes. The process by which inmates are transferred is routine, and the Department will work diligently to minimize disruption.

“We currently are working hard to identify and implement measures to account for the impact of increased populations across the correctional system, and to ensure continued access to health, educational, and rehabilitative services and programs for our inmate population,” continued Dunn. “We will be making appropriate modifications to existing facilities to address concerns associated with relocation including safety, security, staffing, crowding and programming. This is a complex process, and my Department is committed to maintaining transparency without compromising inmate, staff, or public safety.”

The ADOC anticipates retaining enough security and support personnel to staff the active areas at or near 100 percent, establishing a replicable management and rehabilitative model for other facilities as new security staff continues to be added across the correctional system. Staff currently working at Holman Correctional Facility not assigned to active areas within the facility will be reassigned to nearby correctional facilities based on the needs of the Department. Health, rehabilitative, and food services will be provided to Holman Correctional Facility from Fountain Correctional Facility, which is located approximately one mile from Holman.

The Department will provide updates on its website every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. outlining important information on its progress for the loved ones of impacted inmates, the media, and general public. Inmate locations will be updated on the website following transfers. Information can be accessed here: Updated inmate information can be accessed here: Inmate Search.

On Wednesday, January 29, 2020, The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) launched its strategic plan to close and decommission the main facility at William C. Holman Correctional Facility (Holman). This plan was initiated in August 2018 and accelerated by ADOC’s executive leadership upon learning of the daily interventions required to maintain deteriorating underground utility systems, which provide essential power, water, and sewer services, in order to keep the main facility operational.

Phase 1 of this operation, which included transferring 21 death row inmates from Donaldson Correctional Facility to Holman, was safely and successfully completed in the early morning hours of January 29. Death row inmates are among the highest profile individuals in the custody of the ADOC, and therefore most vulnerable during transport. Given the high degree of sensitivity and security risks related to relocating these inmates, no third parties or outside agencies were provided advance notification. The ADOC adheres to strict security protocols regarding any inmate movement, which are based on national standards and followed by every correctional department in the United States. These protocols are designed to prioritize inmate, correctional staff, and public safety above all else.

Phase 2 of the decommissioning process includes the careful and paced reduction of Holman’s general and restrictive housing inmate populations. After completing Phase 1 and prior to initiating Phase 2 of this operation, ADOC staff, members of the media, relevant third parties and outside agencies including the Department of Justice, members of the Alabama Legislature, and other key stakeholders were informed of the Department’s decision to proceed on its existing plans. The exact details and timing of Phase 2 transfers will not be made public in advance due to security and safety reasons.

As of 12 p.m. on Monday, February 3, Phase 2 of the Holman decommissioning process is still in an early stage, with less than 5% of inmates relocated. The process is highly complex, and the Department is working to move inmates at other facilities to accommodate high-security transfers out of Holman. In addition to the previously stated safety and security concerns, ADOC is focused on minimizing disruption and ensuring appropriate staffing and security modifications at receiving facilities. It is important to note that ADOC will continuously analyze inmate populations, needs of receiving facilities, and mobilization of resources to ensure continued access to health, educational, and rehabilitative services and programs.

The current conditions within the Holman Correctional Facility tunnel now present increased safety concerns and a degree of risk to anyone who enters the tunnel; however, the utility systems located within the tunnel must remain operational until the decommissioning process is complete. To facilitate safe entry into the tunnel for personnel, the ADOC will shut off power to the main facility for short periods of time while maintenance is being performed. All conditions within the tunnel will be carefully evaluated prior to entry, and medical personnel will be on standby. ADOC will work to schedule these necessary maintenance outages strategically in order to minimize disruption for inmates and staff. The first scheduled maintenance outage occurred on Monday, February 3, safely and without incident.

The decommissioning process will continue at a safe rate over the coming weeks. The process by which inmates will be transferred out of Holman during Phase 2 is routine, and new housing assignments for transferred inmates will be updated in real time on the ADOC’s website. Families and loved ones of impacted individuals can access inmate housing assignment information at any time here: Inmate Search.

Phase 2 of the Alabama Department of Corrections’ (ADOC) strategic plan to decommission the main facility at William C. Holman Correctional Facility (Holman) continues to progress. Over the past week, the ADOC has worked to move inmates at other facilities to accommodate Level 5 (highest security risk) inmates who are transferring out of Holman, while also making appropriate modifications at receiving facilities. As of 12 p.m. on February 10, the process remains in an early stage with approximately 12% of Holman’s general population and restrictive housing inmates relocated.

The utility systems located within the tunnel remain operational, following safe and completed maintenance outages on Feb 3, 6 and 10. The ADOC has secured an emergency contract to install sump pumps in the tunnel. The goal of installing additional sump pumps is to serve as a redundancy system in the event the current, aging pumps fail, and also assist in the removal of ground and wastewater that continues to build up within the tunnel. According to ADOC’s Engineering Division, the reduction of standing water, moisture and humidity within the tunnel should decrease the frequency of necessary maintenance outages. Given the safety concerns presented by entering the tunnel, the ADOC’s goal is to reduce needed entry to once per week following the installation, if possible.

In collaboration with third-party experts, the ADOC is working to establish an independent power source for the execution chamber, which is housed within the main facility at Holman. An independent generator which serves as a back-up power source and redundancy system for that portion of the main facility has been tested successfully. No safety or security modifications will be needed to secure the execution chamber leading up to the scheduled execution for Nathaniel Woods on March 5, 2020.

ADOC expects to continue the decommissioning process at Holman at a safe rate over the coming weeks, working to minimize disruption at receiving facilities. Inmate housing assignments are updated in real-time once they reach the receiving facility. Families and loved ones of impacted individuals can access inmate housing assignment information at any time here: Inmate Search.

The Alabama Department of Corrections’ (ADOC) continues Phase 2 of the decommissioning process at Holman at a safe rate, with approximately 30% of Holman’s general population and restrictive housing inmates relocated as of 12 p.m. on February 17.

The utility systems located within the Holman tunnel remain operational, following safe and completed maintenance outages on Feb 10 and 13. We expect installation of the additional sump pumps referenced in Strategic Update Two to commence shortly which, as previously noted, ideally will reduce the frequency of needed maintenance outages to once per week.

As the Holman inmate population continues to decrease, staffing and resourcing needs are being considered and addressed – including adjusting foodservice production for reduced populations while continuing to support those with special dietary needs. The cafeteria at Holman will remain functional until the main facility is fully decommissioned, at which time foodservice will be provided daily from Fountain Correctional Facility which is located approximately one mile down the road.

The ADOC actively is working to address needs at receiving institutions and account for the impact of increased populations across the correctional system. We are pleased to share a rehabilitative programming update at Limestone Correctional Facility, which includes amending our 6-month pre-release curriculum to a 9-month curriculum. In addition to helping better rehabilitate and prepare inmates for a successful release, this programming improvement will enable the more effective and efficient use of beds and other resources in our pre-release dormitory, which now will house additional inmates who are nine months away from their scheduled releases. The ADOC also continues to make security enhancements to receiving institutions.

As a reminder, inmate housing assignments are updated in real-time once they reach the receiving facility. Families and loved ones of impacted individuals can access inmate housing assignment information at any time here: Inmate Search.