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Alabama inmate discovered dead days after expressing fears of imminent danger

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Klifton Adam Bond, whose family testified in mid-December about the violent conditions in Alabama prisons, was discovered dead Thursday at the St. Clair Correctional Facility near Birmingham. 

His mother’s attorney, Lauren Faraino, said that just days prior, Bond had uncharacteristically expressed fears of being in imminent danger, fears that were forwarded to the Alabama Department of Corrections seven days before his death. On behalf of Bond’s mother, Faraino has filed a lawsuit against the state related to the death.

“Adam contacted his family and expressed fear for his life, and that was completely uncharacteristic of Adam,” Faraino told Alabama Daily News on Thursday. 

“I’ve met with him many times, and he repeatedly says ‘I’m tough, I can take care of myself.’ A few days ago, he called with genuine fear in his voice, saying that he was concerned that he was going to be dead.”

An ADOC spokesperson confirmed that Bond was deceased, telling ADN that he was “discovered unresponsive in his cell,” and that “staff immediately began life-saving measures.”

Those measures, the spokesperson said, were ultimately unsuccessful, with Bond’s death now being investigated by the ADOC Law Enforcement Services Division.

Alabama currently has among the highest incarceration rates in the country, with 2019 figures showing an incarceration rate of 860 per 100,000 Alabamians – the fifth-highest nationally.

Bond, who was serving a 20-year sentence for first degree robbery and burglary, was brutally beaten in November by a fellow inmate while being housed at the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Bessemer. Bond’s mother, Rebecca Crafton, said she was not notified of her son’s condition until after learning he had undergone brain surgery for his injuries.

Crafton and her attorney had requested of ADOC that Bond be transferred to the Hamilton Aged and Infirmed Center, a prison for the elderly or those with health conditions. On Dec. 28, Faraino suggested he be transferred again to ADOC in an email, where she also notified ADOC of Bond’s recent comments of being in imminent danger.

“I am writing to alert you to the fact that Klifton Adam Bond has reason to believe that he is in danger because of certain officers,” Faraino wrote in the email, which she shared with ADN.

“Other inmates have told Adam that these employees were discussing wanting to get him ‘off camera’ so that they could retaliate against him for trying to get medical attention for another inmate. Adam is not someone who admits to being fearful, even when he was attacked last month, but I do believe he has genuine fear of an imminent attack.”

Bond was ultimately not transferred to Hamilton, but instead, transferred on Tuesday to the St. Clair Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison. 

Klifton Adam Bond was 38 years old and a father to one.

Now, Faraino is working to halt Bond’s autopsy, as she is actively engaged in separate litigation against the state related to the manner in which state-ordered autopsies are performed on inmates. More specifically, Faraino alleges in the lawsuit that inmates’ organs have turned up missing.

One such instance is with the case of Brandon Dotson, a former inmate at the Ventress Correctional Facility whose body was returned to his family missing a heart, Faraino alleged in the lawsuit, representing Dotson’s family. Autopsies ordered by ADOC are performed by either the University of Alabama at Birmingham or the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences through contractual agreements.

In a statement to The Washington Post, a spokesperson for UAB, which is named in the lawsuit, denied that the school had performed Dotson’s autopsy, or was involved in the matter in any way, whereas the ADFS declined to comment entirely.

Faraino said that Dotson’s case was not the only instance of an inmate’s organs being removed during a state-ordered autopsy without consent, giving urgency to the request to halt Bond’s autopsy. She said she had recently been made aware of a case in which a deceased inmate’s body was returned to to family with all organs but the eyes removed. 

Alabama’s prison conditions have come under intense scrutiny in the last decade due to staffing shortages, crowding and increased instances of violence, with Alabama having among the highest inmate mortality rates in the nation. The state’s prison system is also currently under threat of federal takeover due to the violent prison conditions and medical and mental health care shortages.

The state is currently building a $1.08 billion new mens prison in Elmore County with a second prison planned for Escambia County. State leaders say the new facilities with modern technology will create a safer environment for the prison population and the corrections officers.

Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, has been among the leading voices in the Legislature calling for prison reform, and noted on Thursday that since the Prison Oversight Committee meeting in December, where lawmakers heard nearly two hours of testimony as to the violent conditions in Alabama prisons, he had received countless emails from families and friends of incarcerated Alabamians “that detail some really awful things going on in our prisons.”

England made his comments Thursday during a meeting of the Contract Review Committee in Montgomery, and threatened to block all state contracts until ADOC addresses the issues. 

“At some point, I don’t know what it’s going to take to get the department’s attention,” England said, addressing ADOC representative Mandy Speirs. “I don’t know if it means Tommy Tuberville-ing this thing and holding all your contracts up to maybe get some sort of response, but at some point, something has got to give.”

Filed in the Northern District of Alabama Southern Division, Faraino’s lawsuit related to Bond asks that his state-ordered autopsy be halted, or alternatively, allow for an independent medically qualified observer to be present during the procedure.

“It does not have to be this way, and the excessive number of deaths in Alabama prisons could be prevented through a number of measures that advocates and families have tried to bring forward for years,” Faraino told ADN.

“Short of that, what we’re asking for is for the families of individuals who die in state custody to be treated with even just a modicum of respect. The lack of transparency that characterizes the prison system is completely unacceptable.”

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