DOJ to investigate conditions at Alabama prisons

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation into conditions within Alabama’s troubled prison system.

The department announced the investigation Thursday that will focus on safety in men’s prisons and whether inmates are protected from physical harm and abuse.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement that the U.S. Constitution requires humane conditions for prisoners.

Alabama’s prison system has come under criticism for crowding and recent outbreaks of violence.

State prisons house nearly twice the number of inmates they were originally designed to hold. A corrections officer died last month after being stabbed by an inmate at a prison that has been the site of two uprisings.

Alabama last year agreed to make changes at its only prison for women after a similar investigation there.