Distinguishing Feature: Holman Correctional Facility was featured in several episodes of the television show Lockup: Holman Extended Stay, partially to show the conditions inside the prison had changed dramatically since it got its reputation as the most violent prison in Alabama.
Overview: Holman Correctional Facility earned a reputation as the most violent prison in Alabama, and even had the nickname The House of Pain. In the early 2000s, warden Grantt Culliver implemented a number of changes in an effort to make the prison safer for guards and inmates. He allowed the crew from the television show Lockup into the prison for an extended period of time to show the changes that had been made; while life inside the prison was still harsh and could be dangerous, there had been a distinct change in the violent atmosphere that once permeated the prison. While Culliver is no longer the warden, subsequent wardens have attempted to embrace his changes and maintain the advances he made in prison safety.
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Unlike some of the other prisons in Alabama, Holman correctional Facility houses a very wide range of prisoners, from minimum security to closed custody inmates. These closed custody inmates include two of the inmate populations that are routinely considered the most desperate, and therefore the most dangerous, in any prison environment: life without parole inmates and Death Row inmates. Many of these inmates are murderers or have committed other violent crimes, though three-strikes sentencing which prescribes mandatory life sentences for multiple felony offenders can result in life sentences for non-violent habitual criminals.
The living conditions in Holman are extremely well documented in the Lockup series, which is worth viewing to get an accurate picture of life inside the facility. The prison has five housing units, labeled A-E, a segregation unit, and a separate Death Row unit. It also has 7 beds in the infirmary.
In any mixed-population prison, the security level of the most dangerous inmates dictates the security precautions for the prison and Holman is no exception. The security compound of the prison is surrounded by two fences: an inner fence of taut wire and an outer chain length fence. There are six guard towers, where armed guards watch the prisoners. In addition, two perimeter vehicles monitor the perimeter 24 hours a day. The perimeter is fully lit when it is dark. The surrounding area consists of farm and timberland, with the prison being relatively isolated in a rural area.
Like other Alabama prisons, Holman struggles with overpopulation. It was the subject of a court order directing the State of Alabama to cease sending additional prisoners to Holman because of the overcrowding. Overcrowding creates a number of problems for the prison. One problem is the rampant spread of disease, which is not helped by the fact that inmates claim that prison officials at Holman are not responsive to inmate medical complaints. Inmates at Holman have complained that they have not received treatment for infectious diseases like Hepatitis C and Staph infections, which can spread in an unsanitary prison environment. Additionally, the overcrowding seems to increase the likelihood of vermin infestation, and investigators have seen evidence of vermin in Holman, including Holman’s kitchen facilities.
As with many other prisons in the South, Holman is not air conditioned. However, the prison does actually have a number of large industrial fans located within the building to cool off the prisoners and increase air circulation. Despite these fans, the prison is extremely hot in the summer heat.
Of particular concern is the treatment of mentally ill prisoners at Holman. Rather than having access to a full range of mental health services or being transferred to a prison that can provide them with those services, mentally ill inmates at often moved between the segregation units at Donaldson, Holman, and St. Clair.
Prisoners at Holman do not all have the same access to services. Inmates in closed custody or administrative segregation may not be able to access any services. However, the general population inmates do have access to a wide variety of programs and services, including: industrial training; self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Sex Addicts Anonymous; and mental health workshops including anger management, values clarification, and counseling for inmates identified as having gender identity disorder. In addition, inmates at Holman can take classes through Jeff Davis Community College, which offers ABE and GED courses.
Holman is associated with two main production lines. The first is a license plate manufacturing facility. The second is a sewing factory, which produces the sheets and pillow cases used by Alabama state prisons.
Named for a former warden, the William C. Holman Correctional Facility opened in 1968 and received its first prisoner in 1969. While the prison is old and faces overcrowding issues, it has had several critical updates including a new administration building, an overhaul of the kitchen and dining facilities, and refurbished dormitory areas. The Holman Correctional Facility had a reputation for being the most violent prison in Alabama and has been periodically plagued by significant issues due to overcrowding. While there are still serious allegations of conditions negatively impacting prisoner and guard safety, conditions at the facility began to improve in the early 2000s.
Holman Correctional Facility has been home to a number of nationally famous inmates. These inmates include: Bobby Frank Cherry the KKK member who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, killing four young girls; serial killer Henry Hays; serial killer Walter Lee Moody; and serial killer Daniel Lee Siebert.
Year Built or Opened: 1969 Warden or Supervisor: Carter Davenport Daily Inmate Count: 799 Total Capacity: 835 Security Level(s): Maximum - Close
Holman 3700 Atmore, AL 36503-3700
866 Ross Road, Atmore, AL 36503