prison system

Authorities are locking down all federal prisons as the country braces for potential violence leading into Wednesday's swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden.

The lockdown was announced early Saturday morning. A statement from the Bureau of Prisons does not specify the length of the lockdown but says the agency was securing all of its facilities as a precautionary measure brought on by "current events occurring around the country."

Alabama corrections officials say they were caught off-guard by a lawsuit this week from the Justice Department alleging dangerous and unconstitutional conditions in the state's prisons.

It's the latest in a long list of legal challenges over a system plagued by deadly violence and neglect.

Two prisoner advocacy groups are going to protest the treatment of incarcerated Oklahomans in front of the state Department of Corrections headquarters Friday afternoon.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Alabama on Wednesday, saying unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the state's men's prisons violate the Constitution.

The DOJ says Alabama's prison system fails to provide adequate protection from prisoner-on-prisoner violence, sexual abuse and excessive force at the hands of prison staff.

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The state Board of Corrections approved a list of legislative requests on Wednesday that will be introduced to lawmakers during the next legislative session.

Prisoner's rights advocates are pleading for more action to help stop the deadly toll taken by the pandemic that has ravaged America's jails and prisons.

Their calls come as the country grapples with increases in cases and hospitalizations from the coronavirus, forcing states and cities to impose tougher restrictions on public gatherings.

The advocates want faster, early release of older and medically vulnerable inmates, those nearing their parole date, as well as non-violent prisoners with a track record of good behavior.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

COVID-19 is still circulating in Oklahoma prisons, but case counts are down after a massive spike in infections in late August and early September.

Thousands of Oklahomans lost electricity last week after a harsh ice storm cut through the state. The outages also left prisoners and staff in some local jails without power.