Panel to discuss Alabama prison violence

This Wednesday a legislative panel will meet to discuss growing reports of inmate violence in Alabama prisons. The Department of Corrections reports that, since October, at least three inmates killed during inmate-on-inmate violence. In recent weeks, allegations have surfaced of sexual abuse of women inmates at Tutwiler Prison.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{} {}

Republican Senator Cam Ward of Alabaster leads the Joint Prison Oversight Committee. He says the group will discuss those reports as well as address the issue of overcrowding. He says Alabama ranks top in the country when it comes to over-crowded prisons.

Ward says, in the last legislative session, the committtee tried to ease overcrowding with sentencing reform for non-violent offenders. But he says the state's budget crunch makes the situation even more difficult to fix.