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Alabama Highway Labor Kills Three Prisoners, Three More Injured

In a sudden surge of mayhem, three Alabama prisoners were killed in separate incidents and three more were injured. Prisoner highway labor was temporarily suspended. On April 11, 2003, Dairron Clark, 33, was struck and killed by a minivan on Interstate 10 in Mobile, Alabama. Clark, serving a life sentence, was on a work-release detail.

Two weeks later, on April 24, death struck again when Jeffery Allan Hunt, 40, was struck by a 2002 Kia. The tiny car slammed into a concrete barrier along Interstate 65 near the Montgomery city limits, and then spun out of control before striking Hunt and three other prisoners who were injured and taken to a Montgomery hospital. Hunt, serving seven years, was collecting debris along the highway with his fellow prisoners. The injured prisoners included Eddie Aaron, 54, serving 15 years; Nigel Hamilton, 37, serving 20 years; and Ron Woolen, 30, serving 20 years. These prisoners were from the Stanton Correctional Facility.

According to Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett, an unidentified third prisoner was killed in Bullock County when he fell from a sanitation truck.

While the labor suspension lasted only a week, it reportedly affected about 1,000 prisoners who work on outside programs statewide. Many cash-strapped areas rely on prison slave labor for their labor-intensive projects. For example, the parks and grounds departments of Bay Minnette rely heavily on slave labor from the Loxley Community Work Center. In only a few days of the suspension they were already hurting, according to city administrator Chris Miller. Likewise, in Daphne, over a dozen prisoners slave daily to keep the city from coughing up funds to pay civilians.

It was reported that all safety precautions were in place, including prisoners wearing bright orange vests and posted signs, but a review of safety procedures was promised. g

Sources: Montgomery Advertiser, Birmingham News, database.

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