Jailers Who Had Female Inmates Dance Nude for Donuts Are Among Many Tales of Recent Abuse in Alabama Jails

Latest scandal mild in comparison to other recent abuse and corruption cases at Alabama county jails.


Fox 6 Alabama/Screenshot

Three corrections officers at an Alabama county jail were caught coercing female inmates into nude dancing for them in exchange for doughnuts and cell phones, according to the Pickens County sheriff. The jailers, who have since been fired, appeared in court last week on felony ethics violation charges after jail security cameras showed them bribing the women to strip and dance. "Several former prisoners say the practice was called 'Dancing for Doughnuts,'" reports WBRC Alabama.  

The prisoners didn't like the food being served to them at the Pickens County Jail. So [corrections officers Demetrius Harris, Anthony Lavender, and Chance Draper] allegedly gave them the option to dance for doughnuts. The prisoners had to strip and dance in front of them, in some cases partially or totally nude.

[…] In April, a grand jury indicted the three jailers on ethics and theft charges. The ethics violation is a felony and the theft charge is a misdemeanor. … When asked what kinds of things the jailers smuggled to the inmates, Sheriff Abston replied,"One thing was doughnuts. But we've also had cell phones. And this particular situation we caught them smuggling extra food, doughnuts."

Comments on the WBRC article indicate that the Pickens County jail may have a reputation as a "hell hole." But this story seems to be merely the latest in a string of indignities and abuses—some fatal—inflicted on prisoners at Alabama county jails. 

Madison County is facing three federal lawsuits filed by the families of former inmates who died while in custody. "Three times last year Madison County jailers watched small-time criminals die before their eyes, according to a series of three lawsuits filed in federal court," AL.com reports. The inmates—19-year-old Deundrez Woods, arrested for shoplifting Star Wars DVDs from Walmart; 61-year-old Nikki Listau, arrested for harassment; and 30-year-old Tanisha Johnson, also in for harassment—all died of conditions that shouldn't be fatal: gangrene, a broken bone, and constipation. 

Each argues that Madison County withholds the most basic medical care in order to save money, banking on the insurance of the medical contractor to cover any resulting lawsuits.

Some of the problem may lie in the county's inability to attract and retain quality staff because it has very little money to pay them. Steve Morrison, administrator of the Madison County Jail, told AL.com that his staff is extremely low-paid, with some qualifying for food stamps, and the low wages lead to major turnover and chronic understaffing. 

Other Alabama jails are plagued by similar budget troubles. In April, the Fairfield City Jail was forced to release all of its inmates because it didn't have enough money to provide them with food

Sexual abuse, either at the hands of corrections officers or simply ignored by them, also seems to be a major problem. The Justice Department is currently investigating the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham for allegedly keeping juveniles in solitary confinement for long stretches of time and turning a blind eye when juvenile offenders housed with adults were physically or sexually assaulted by the older inmates. (Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Randy Christian said juvenile inmates were lying about the abuse to try and get out of being housed in adult jail.) Alabama's only women's prison, the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, was also under federal investigation for alleged ongoing sexual abuse and harassment of inmates by prison corrections officers. The Department of Justice reached a settlement with the state over the prison in late May.

As Bloomberg Business pointed out earlier this month, prisoners being neglected and dying in county jails is far from an Alabama-only phenomenon. For more on the abysmal state of American jails, check out the recent Vera Institute report "Incarceration's Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America." 

NEXT: Los Angeles Isn't Fighting Poverty—It's Criminalizing It

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  1. It’s hard to believe something like this could happen in Alabama.

    1. Honestly, having lived there for a while, Madison Co. is far more urban and far more cosmopolitan than much of the state, so yeah, it is actually surprising that this shit is happening there.

      1. More cosmopolitan than the rest of Alabama?

        What, did they get a Chinese restaurant?

        1. The military base and NASA stuff there and the air-space businesses such as Lockheed that support both draw a lot of people from across the country. The university there is quite good, too. These people are often highly educated and tend to be less socially conservative. Of course, these people are not normally holding law enforcement positions there.

          1. I was mostly just pullin’ your leg!

            It’s all good.

        2. “More cosmopolitan than the rest of Alabama?

          What, did they get a Chinese restaurant?”

          Four people in the county traveled to Tennessee in the 8th grade. The stories they have to tell still shock and surprise the local Alabamans as they gather round their stills and discuss the lost cause of the Confederacy.

          /REGION WAR

          1. As my then-girlfriend, an Alabama native, told me when I lived down there…..God made Mississippi so Alabama would have someone to look down on.

  2. Holy Shit: Rachel Dolezal was in a SEX TAPE


    Everyday it’s something new with this one.

    1. I’d like some evidence beyond her own assertions.

      1. Yeah, at this point Rachel Dolezal could tell me the sky is blue and I’d have to check for myself.

      2. I believe the tape is out there, I don’t believe her that she did this under force.

      3. Careful what you wish for…

      4. Well, if it was in a court filing in her divorce, then it was under oath, if that helps.

        1. Yes, that’s really reassuring.

    2. What race did she play in it?

      1. Claw clap

      2. I don’t think Pornhub has a transracist category yet.

  3. Were they specifically trained not to make female inmates strip for food?…

    /Prison Guard Union Lawyer

  4. Giving doughnuts away to prisoners when there are hungry cops in the world? Have they no shame?

  5. Why in the hell do they have male prison guards handling female prisoners? That’s fucking retarded, and I guarantee that a lot worse happened than just nude dancing for donuts.

    1. Go on…

      1. Well, when you have women locked in cages, fully dependent on men for food and clothing, and those men have sex with those women, it’s called rape.

        I’m suggesting that it’s highly likely that such rapes occurred in this environment.

        1. Well, when you have women locked in cages, fully dependent on men for food and clothing, and those men have sex with those women, it’s called rape.

          Actually, it’s called a USA Up All Night with Rhonda Shear movie.

          1. More like Pam Grier, Roger Corman and 5th of cheap whiskey.

            1. I appreciate the full spectrum of women in prison exploitation movies.

    2. You saying bulldagger guards wouldn’t be tempted to do the same?

      1. I’m assuming that’s autocorrect.

        I would conjecture that it would be less likely to happen in an environment where the guards are 100% female and 20% lesbian than an environment where the guards are 100% male and 96% heterosexual. Far less likely.

        1. Where are the Unsullied when you need them

          1. They’re no good in confined spaces.

    3. Because gender equality. For the same reason that female prison guards guard male prisoners and then have sex with those male prisoners and help them escape.

      We’re not supposed to point out that the genders ought to be separated to stop things like that from happening because that would be sexist or something.

  6. In April, the Fairfield City Jail was forced to release all of its inmates because it didn’t have enough money to provide them with food.

    Sometimes I wonder if it’s a good idea to criminalize so much human activity.

      1. But then I look at the smiling faces on the children at the playground and know that it’s all worth it. (And then their mothers chase me away.)

    1. That thought crossed my mind once as well.

  7. Jeffery Sachs goes full Christ-prog, claims we need to let Commie Pope guide us towards virtue.

    “In current political discourse in the United States, the unalienable rights of the individual have been transmuted into the modern doctrine of libertarianism. This doctrine not only puts individual rights on a pedestal above all others but also actively denies any claim by society to hold individuals to account for their behavior toward others, other than to respect their liberty. In today’s America, the very idea of virtue has been privatized, individualized and increasingly commercialized. Each individual is at liberty to define virtue as he or she sees fit.”

    Oh no! You can decide what is and is not virtuous based on your own moral beliefs? This cannot stand – clearly some arbiter of moral virtue should force their opinions of right and wrong onto everyone, even if they disagree.

    Wasn’t this the exact same logic that led to Anthony Comstock and caused Allen Ginsburg’s Howl to be the subject of an obscenity trial? Ever onward towards puritanism, Jeffery, you authoritarian jackass!

    1. Also, America is #1 on the planet in per capita charitable giving, so clearly we aren’t quite so atomized as Sachs claims.

    2. Obviously you don’t realize that your Libertarian Moment is happening right fucking now. And that’s why the country is so screwed up. Maybe it’s time to try something rational like socialism, libertarianism has had its day.

    3. This doctrine not only puts individual rights on a pedestal above all others but also actively denies any claim by society to hold individuals to account for their behavior toward others, other than to respect their liberty.

      In a Libertarian World murder, rape and theft would be de-criminalized. Burn that straw man, Jeffrey.

      1. This is my favorite part:

        “It is a long, fascinating and somewhat mysterious story how the American defense of the individual against tyranny in 1776 became the defense of the individual against demands of social justice and the recognition that virtues like compassion and moderation are the underpinnings of happiness.”

        Maybe because the founders had no interest in modern ideas of ‘social justice’ so the American defense of the individual never ‘became’ the defense of the individual against the ‘demands’ of moral justice since those demands did not exist at the time the Constitution was written.

        C’mon, Jeffery. I heard you were smart, but I’m really not getting that vibe from you.

        1. Oh, there’s also the part where he starts babbling about ancient Greek philosophers and the ‘virtues’ of the Greeks. Yeah, nothing says virtue like the Spartans training for constant war on the backs of a slave society or the Athenians forcing Socrates to drink poison.

          1. I’m sure he was referring to the Sacred Band of Thebeans, Irish.

        2. As you point out, he’s making the same argument socons have made since, oh, about the French Revolution but he’s dressing it up in modern parlance as “social justice”. Same argument, different terminology. It’s full on authoritarianism.

          If you’ve seen him speak you know he’s a pompous ass. He’s Thomas Friedman x10.

      2. This doctrine not only puts individual rights on a pedestal above all others

        Are there some other rights I’m unaware of?

    4. Another leftist has no idea what libertarianism is. How does this keep happening?

      1. They don’t care what it actually is. These people live for an enemy, for an opponent to fight. They don’t want to not have an enemy. Without and enemy, they don’t know what to do, who to hate, who to be the opposite of.

        Libertarians are their new enemy. The faddish new boogeyman onto whom they can project all their own failings and hatreds and impulses. It doesn’t matter what libertarianism actually is. All that matters is what they want it to be, in order to fulfill their needs for an enemy.

        1. And then they’ll blame you for their own stupidity. Tony once told me it was our fault if he didn’t understand libertarianism because that’s proof it is confusing and makes no sense. Of course, most of the ludicrous claims about libertarianism have been refuted clearly and concisely by writers going back to Hayek (and many of them were actually refuted by Bastiat before the term libertarian even existed) so it’s not as if you have to dig that deep to understand the basic concepts.

          1. It’s entirely possible that they quite literally can’t get some of the concepts. One thing I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of people in this world who viscerally hate personal responsibility. It’s as if it’s terrifying to them. They will do anything to deny that they are personally responsible for any occurrence in their lives. To the point of basically sticking their fingers in their ears and going “lalalalalala”.

            I’m pretty sure people like that actually cannot “get” libertarian concepts, because so many of them rest on personal responsibility. So when they don’t get it, they really don’t get it. It’s not an act.

            1. So, you’re saying they really are looting shitbags?

              I try to give benefit of the doubt, but that’s what it boils down to. They are too chickenshit to make it on their own so they promote a welfare state that will take care of them when they fail.

              1. Yes, that’s part of it. There is probably a whole toxic blend of fears and insecurities in the mix. Fear of being left behind/on their own, fear of being a loser, fear that others will do well while they don’t…you name it. A whole host of reasons to grab at the legs of anyone who would rise above or leave and drag them back down under the surface.

            2. I think they’re terrified of libertarianism because when you apply our principles the obvious injustice of modern leftist authoritarianism is exposed. They’re complete fascist hypocrisy is easily displayed. So, they mischaracterize libertarianism because they’re too cowardly and fearful to argue their own positions honestly. It’s basically battlefield prep propaganda.

        2. Well, at least we aren’t in the “first they ignore you” phase anymore.

    5. In current political discourse in the United States, the unalienable rights of the individual have been transmuted into the modern doctrine of libertarianism

      You say that as it if were a bad thing…

      This doctrine not only puts individual rights on a pedestal above all others[…]

      You mean above Martian rights? or do you think there are other rights to think about besides of those who actually step on this good earth?

      the very idea of virtue has been privatized, individualized and increasingly commercialized

      Read that, my children? Virtue is a public good!

      1. Above community rights – community rights such as the right to stamp out of every vestige of individuality. Don’t you care about the community?

    6. Isn’t it amazing how fast totalitarians love the old authoritarian power structures when the old authoritarians are advocating for giving power to the new totalitarians?

    7. He’s railing against The Enlightenment.

  8. Dancing for donuts?
    Stripping for sweets?
    You shake it, we’ll bake it?

    Hey ladies, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

    1. It does seem like a voluntary exchange of goods and services. (Except, maybe, for the bars.)

  9. Sheriff Abston replied,”One thing was doughnuts. But we’ve also had cell phones. And this particular situation we caught them smuggling extra food, doughnuts.”

    you said doughnuts twice.

    1. He likes doughnuts.

      1. He looks sad in that screen grab, beat down by the world and his situation. Then again, maybe Fox 6 sent their ugly reporter.

        1. Fox doesn’t have ugly reporters. Or do they?!?

          1. In rural Alabama? Everyone that didn’t get hit with the ugly atick is trying to make it in the Ocala, Florida regional market.

            But seriously, having just moved from a small TV market to a large one, it is amazing how much hotter the news teams are.

            1. Pix plz thx

              1. Your wish is my command:


                Not their most babealicious lineup.

  10. “What kind of name is Chance?”

    “Well…my momma took one.”

      1. Just look at the hair. Look. And be in awe.


  11. The moral of the story: Don’t do anything that would land you in jail in Alabama.

    1. The moral of the story: Don’t do anything that would land you in jail set foot in Alabama.


  12. “They’re accused of providing the inmates an unauthorized box of doughnuts.”

    When you outlaw dohnuts only cops and jailers will have dohnuts, who will then give them to criminals in exchange for nude dances?

    That’s a mouthful.

  13. Such are the wages of throwing so many people in jail. Being a jailor is a horrible job that attracts some of the worst elements of society. The number of intelligent, morally decent people willing to do such a job is very small. So the price of having a giant prison industrial complex is hiring large numbers of morally depraved jailors. So many in fact, they take over the system and become immune from oversight. Any large prison system is going to be monstrously inhumane for this reason.

    If you want a humane prison system, build a small one. You can put few people in prison and have them treated humanly or you can put large numbers of people in prison and have them suffer monstrously evil abuse. That is the choice.

    1. I’m not sure that a small prison system is as humane as you think. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Stanford prison experiment. Putting even relatively well adjusted people into that kind of institutional environment can seriously fuck them up.

    2. John, my husband was a Texas corrections officer in a small county jail with a general population of a couple-three dozen and four guards to a shift. The corruption was insane.

      It isn’t the number of people over whom you have absolute control that warps the soul, it’s the absolute control.

      1. Of course. And some people are better suited to resist that temptation than others. The more people your system hires, the more people who have no resistance to that temptation you hire.

        No prison system is going to be totally free of abuse. But the larger it gets the more true sadists you will hire and the more likely they will take over the culture.

  14. I get the feeling this will be a story line in season 4 of Orange is the new Black.

  15. If dancing for donuts is wrong then I do not want to be right.

    1. *throws a Boston Cream your way*

      Shake it like a polaroid picture.

  16. I won’t get naked for a doughnut, but I’ll smile very nicely at you for a Werther’s.

  17. Were they hot? This question is not answered.

    Disclaimer: my question is stupid and sarcastic. I do not think a woman’s relative beauty should actually be relevant in any way, shape or form to the alleged violations reported in this article (which I do believe are heinous). If my question needed a ‘trigger warning’ — a concept I admittedly do not understand in the slightest — I apologize and shall endeavour to include such warnings next time (following research into what exactly they are).

    1. Is it wrong that I thought you were asking if the donuts were hot? I wouldn’t pay for cold DD donuts if I was nearly starving. But, I’d work a pole for hot Krispy Kreme!

  18. Chocolate is The New Glazed, on netflix soon.

  19. What’s the problem?

    Its just the post-prison job training program.

    Its not like society is going to allow these people a chance to re-establish a career – not with background checks for even the most menial jobs like landscaping or bagging groceries. And it doesn’t matter how old the conviction is either. People still get excluded decades later.

    1. This is depressingly accurate.

  20. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

  21. For a donut? Is it possible that the women were hoping to gain more than a donut?

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