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Learn More About Donaldson and Mass Incarceration
Why is this drive important?
The men rely on these gifts for the entire year. They can only order these products every four to six months and are limited in how much they can buy. These gifts help ensure they have access to basic hygiene needs for the year. Additionally, some, but not all, items cost substantially higher to buy through commissary than it does for us to buy them. For example:
|Item||Cost at Donaldson||Cost at Walmart|
|Vaseline 10 oz. Total Moisture Lotion||$6.50||2.98|
|Neutrogena 3.5 oz. Facial Bar Soap||$4.95||$1.97|
|Speed Stick Active Fresh Deodorant||$3.00||$3.88|
|Colgate 5 oz. Optic White Toothpaste||$7.00||3.57|
|Pantene 12.6 oz. Fine Volume Shampoo||$7.95||$6.53|
Who are the men who will receive these items?
The prison holds around 1,400 men. The men are there for a variety of sentences. Many serve life sentences for relatively minor offenses because of the Habitual Felony Offender Act, which allows a life sentence for three or more minor offenses. Donaldson also has the largest solitary confinement unit in Alabama and can hold up to 300 inmates. You can hear from the men themselves at www.jeffersoncountymemorial.com/blog
In Solitary Confinement, for 23 hours a day, inmates are kept inside a cell that is approximately 80 square feet, smaller than a typical horse stable. Cells are furnished with a bed, sink and toilet, and rarely much else. Food is delivered through a slot in the door, and each day inmates are allowed just one hour of exercise, in a cage. The mental health concerns of such conditions are dire. Many inmates experience panic attacks, depression and paranoia.
Can I give an item not on the list?
No. The warden has approved only items on the list.
Where is Donaldson located?
In Bessemer, which is in Jefferson County (100 Warrior Lane, Bessemer, AL 35023-7299).
Are there any Juveniles help at Donaldson?
There are usually between 3-8 teenagers held at Donaldson, who are separated from the rest of the facility and enter Donaldson’s general population when they turn 18.
How large is Alabama’s Incarcerated population?
In June of 2019, 21,346 individuals were incarcerated across Alabama’s 15 state prisons.
Where can I learn more?
Prison Reform: Health Care in Alabama’s Prisons, Alex Aubuchon, April 2019
On Donaldson: “They don’t get to go outside. They’re just sitting in a cell, and they’re not getting any mental health treatment, or minimal mental health treatment,” Maria Morris, lead prosecutor at SPLC.
This is Alabama, Inmate at Donaldson, April 2019
For more resources, visit Alabama Fair Justice Initiatives website. AFJ’s Coalition works for prison reform for Alabama: https://alabamafairjustice.org/resources and https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2019.html