Prison System: Alabama Department of Corrections
Status: Active since 1987
Offender Gender: Male
Distinguishing Feature: Bullock Correctional Facility was designed to provide mental health services to inmates.
Inmate Capacity: 1609
To understand the goal of Bullock Correctional Facility, or any correctional facility that is dedicated to the treatment of mentally ill inmates, one must understand the relationship between mental illness and criminal behavior. At its root, mental illness can prevent people from either appreciating that their behavior is antisocial and/or criminal, or prevent them from being able to control the behavior. However, the legal standard of “insanity” is very difficult to establish as a defense to criminal behavior. This is partially because, outside of the criminal justice system, society has failed to establish a place to keep people who are dangers to themselves or others or simply a danger to the order of society away from other people. Therefore, these people are shuffled into the criminal justice system. However, if they can receive an adequate diagnosis and a treatment plan while in prison, there may be a way to break the cycle of escalating criminal conduct.
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As a medium security facility, Bullock Correctional Facility houses inmates with a variety of different backgrounds and different crimes. While some inmates are there for non-violent crimes without people as victims, many of the inmates in the facility are there because of assaults, sexual assaults, and murder. In addition, as the state’s mental health facility, a large portion of the inmates experience mental health issues, but they are kept in a designated mental health unit that is separate from the general population at the prison.
Bullock Correctional Facility is a medium security institution. It is surrounded by two 12-foot high, electric, chain-link fences, which are topped in razor ribbon wire. The facility has electric monitoring and a guard tower with an armed guard on duty at all times. The perimeter of the facility is patrolled by armed prison guards. In many ways, Bullock fulfills the stereotype of a prison facility.
The mental health unit consists of eight housing areas; the majority of the inmates live in dormitory-style conditions, with seven dormitories for general population. There is a smaller, 30-cell unit, which is designated for inmates under observation for mental health issues and for administrative segregation inmates. The fact that the mental health observation and administrative segregation inmates are houses in the same unit raises a red flag about the treatment of the patients with suspected mental illnesses. While there is a high correlation between the types of behavior that result in inmates being placed in administrative segregation and inmates with severe mental health issues, they are two distinct groups. Administrative segregation has traditionally been used as a punishment for inmates who can conform to prison rules, but choose not to do so, creating a hazardous situation for themselves and other inmates. Inmates experiencing severe mental illnesses may be unable to conform to prison rules. The rest of the prison is general population and has 24 living areas; 23 dormitories and its own 30 cell administrative segregation unit.
Because it is a medium-security facility, people may believe that conditions at Bullock Correctional Facility are safer for inmates and staff than at other high-security facilities. However, in 2015, the prison saw a number of violent incidents. In August, a prisoner was stabbed and killed during an altercation with another prisoner. In February, a prisoner was injured in a large group brawl. These violent incidents serve as a reminder that inmates in lower security facilities can sometimes face an increased risk of violence because of the increased freedom of movement of all of the inmates in the facility.
Because Bullock has been designated as a facility for inmates with mental health issues, it has different programs than one might find at other Alabama state prisons. Inmates at the prison have access to a greater variety of mental health interventions than are available in the general prison environment. These programs include Intermediate and Intensive Mental Health interventions, and substance abuse treatment programs that go beyond the Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups typically found in correction settings. However, like other Alabama prisons, Bullock Correctional Facility emphasizes religious programming, with a focus on Christianity that can exclude inmates from other religious backgrounds. Because mental health and physical health often go hand-in-hand, the facility also offers comprehensive medical and dental health to inmates, who can receive services without having to transfer to another facility for treatment.
Alabama is well known for its faith-based intervention programs. It can be difficult to determine if faith-based interventions work because of the ability of inmates to self-select for the programs. Moreover, there may be some Establishment Clause issues with these programs, if prisoners are not allowed to self-select for participation. There is no evidence that the faith-based programs result in any changes in behavior, but there is also not evidence that they do not result in behavior changes. Instead, there is anecdotal evidence by some participants that they have helped. Moreover, the faith-based programs incorporate elements of other non-religious rehabilitation programs, such as teaching empathy, requiring restitution, and teaching anger management skills. Therefore, the fact that faith-based interventions are available, especially in states like Alabama, where a number of residents self-identity as highly religious, is probably an important component of prison rehabilitation.
Bullock Correctional Facility opened in April of 1987 and was designated to serve the needs of the mentally ill in Alabama’s prison system. There is a very well-documented connection between mental illness and criminal convictions, with a disproportionate number of convicted persons experiencing some type of mental illness. The goal of the Bullock Correctional Facility was to provide treatment for these individuals so that, if they maintained a treatment regime post-release, they would have lower rates of recidivism.
To send money to an inmate at Bullock Correctional Facility, click here.
Saturdays 8am - 12:40pm
Sundays 8am - 12:40pm
note: 1 visit every 2 weeks, one Saturday or one Sunday, based upon last name.)
Inmate Mailing Address:
Inmate Name, Inmate ID
C/O Bullock Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 5107
Union Springs, AL 36089-5107
The prison handbook will also provide additional information on how to setup visitation at Bullock Correctional, how to send an inmate money or gifts, and proper prison protocol.
Year Built or Opened: 1987 Warden or Supervisor: Warden Kenneth Jones Daily Inmate Count: 1,563 Total Capacity: 1,609 Security Level(s): Medium
P.O. Box 5107
Union-Springs, AL 36089-5107
Highway 82 East
Union Springs, Alabama, 36089