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Alabama Prison Chief Fired over Women in Chains

Alabama's prison commissioner, Ron Jones, was abruptly fired on April 26th after announcing plans to put female prisoners on chain gangs. Jones had ordered the warden at Julia Tutwiler State Prison for Women to develop the chain-gang policy. He said the plan was in reaction to male prisoners who had filed lawsuits challenging (among other things) that Alabama's chain gangs were exclusively applied to male prisoners. "There's no real defense for not doing the females," said Jones.

Alabama's governor, Fob James, apparently thought there was no real defense for putting the women in chains and announced Jones' resignation the following day. "There will be no women on any chain gang in the state of Alabama today, tomorrow or any other time under my watch," the governor said.

The governor first learned of the plan by reading about it in the morning papers. James, who had taken a hands-off policy on the prison chief's "get tough on prisoner" initiatives, decided it was time for Jones to step down. He announced that Jones would return to his old job of warden at the Elmore Correctional Facility near Montgomery.

As of this writing it is uncertain who is in charge of the Alabama prison system - or of the Elmore Correctional Facility, where warden John Nagle said he had no idea Jones would be replacing him. "What do you mean? I'm the warden," said Nagle. "What you are telling me is I am being replaced and don't know it."

Source: Seattle Times

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