Former Alabama Corrections Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Inmates, DOJ Looks into Widespread Abuse

Former Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Sergeant Ulysses Oliver Jr. pleaded guilty to assaulting two handcuffed inmates in his correctional facility. This news comes as the Department of Justice (DOJ) issues written notice to the state alleging constitutional concerns regarding their treatment of prisoners.

According to the DOJ release, “Oliver went to an observation room holding the two inmate victims, who were both handcuffed and sitting quietly. Oliver pulled the first victim from the observation room into an adjacent hallway, where he struck the victim multiple times with his fists and feet, and then used his collapsible baton to strike the victim approximately 19 times. After assaulting the first victim, Oliver returned to the observation room and pulled the second victim into the hallway. Oliver kicked the second victim and used his baton to strike the victim approximately 10 times. During the assaults, the victims were handcuffed, and were not resisting or posing a threat. After, Oliver returned to the observation room where the victims were held and shoved the tip of his baton into the face of one of the victims, lacerating the victim’s face.”

Oliver later wrote false statements concerning the assaults. After pleading guilty, Oliver faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison.

Just one day after the guilty plea was announced, the DOJ Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama announced reasonable cause to believe that “the conditions in Alabama’s prisons for men violate the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

The department alleges that men’s prisons fail to protect prisoners from prisoner-on-prisoner crime, prisoner-on-prisoner sexual assault, and fail to provide prisoners with safe conditions.

The investigation into Alabama prisons began in October 2016 under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). The department notified the state of the minimum remedial measures necessary to address the problem.

“An extraordinary amount of time and effort was expended to investigate this matter,” said U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin, Sr. “Although the results of this investigation are disturbing, I look at this as an opportunity to acknowledge that the problems are real and need to be addressed immediately.” 

In regards to the case against Oliver, Franklin also noted, “Correctional officers have an incredibly difficult job. Although a vast majority of them serve with honor, valor, and bravery, cases like this make their jobs more challenging and dangerous. When officers abandon their oath to protect and serve, and engage in conduct that is criminal, they too must be held accountable. This office is committed to prosecute anyone who violates the law."

Oliver’s case was investigated by the FBI’s Mobile Division and ADOC’s Investigations and Intelligence Division.

Posted in The Takedown

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