Alabama prison commissioner honored despite troubles

November 17, 2019 GMT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The head of Alabama’s troubled prison system is being honored with a national award.

The department says Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn is being awarded a career achievement award by the Correctional Leaders Association, a national organization for prison administrators.

Dunn serves as the group’s regional chair and is a member of its executive committee. He’s been commissioner of Alabama’s badly overcrowded prison system since 2015.

Alabama’s prison system is plagued with a series of inmate deaths due to suicide, homicide and drug overdoses. And the Justice Department earlier this year cited the state for unconstitutional conditions including excessive violence.

A prison reform group, Alabamians for Fair Justice, criticized Dunn’s award by saying his only solution has been to build new, larger prisons and keeping people locked up.