What happened to respecting the dead?
What happened to respecting the dead?

What happened to respecting the dead?


In the News:

As many of you know, I usually don’t write about articles that are written in the news. All of my information comes from people currently or have been incarcerated. However, I think this one needs to be written about it. A few weeks ago there was a news article about two men who passed away in Alabama State Prison. Their families wanted to have funeral services for them. Sounds reasonable? When the families tried to make arrangements at the funeral homes, they were told that the bodies were missing organs and “severely decomposed”. This was not the first or second time someone had passed away in an Alabama Prison and their body was missing organs with severe decomposition.

In 2021:

A 74-year-old man had passed away in Alabama State Prison. He was also missing his organs. His body was so decomposed, that his family ordered a second autopsy. The second autopsy discovered that his heart was missing and noticeable bruising on the back of his neck and excessive swelling across his head. His brain was gone. The funeral director told the family that it was unlikely that his body could be prepared for viewing because it was”already in a noticeable state of decomposition” and missing his organs.  The family was told that organs are usually removed, placed in a bag, and returned after the autopsy is done, but this never happened in this case.

The deaths of the inmates:

Two of the deaths are unknown. the other one is said to be a drug overdose. However, the family is questioning this becuase their son was dong so well. He was facilitting GED classes, taking classes himself, and had clear conduct. He had been recently transported to another prison for his safety. His was in contact with family and they visited him often. This family had more this his death, shortly after finding out about his death, his father passed away from a broken heart. Tragedy that never should have happened.

Alabama Jails:

I have done some reach on Alabama prisons. They are considered one of the most dangerous and violent prisons in the United States. The Governor of Alabama doesn’t believe in the Reform and Rehabilitation Program. Her answer is to build more prisons. My research uncovered hiring issues,  understaffing, keeping inmates several years past their sentencing, and major drug use. One prison in Alabama had over 325 deaths in one year.

Where did the organs go?

When you enter prison you give an emergency contact and next of kin. So the question is why did it take so long for these families to be notified that their loved ones had passed away? The authorization was given by the prison to the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Pathology to perform the autopsies. They have been performing autopsies on inmates for many years. The University stated that they got the authorization and have the forms backing that state to perform the autopsies. The University also states that they do not return the organs unless requested. No one should have to request their family member’s organs back.

Culture and Religion:

I travel around the world and have experienced more than most people.  In many countries there is a lot of respect for the dead  In Peru, people dig up  3 skulls (not necessarily their family members),  place them in their homes, and pray to them every night. In Rome and Spain, there are  Catacombs underneath their churches and cathedrals. There are hundreds of skulls, humerus, and femur bones of people that they laid to rest.  At the time, there was so much disease,their only answer was to  dig large burial sites under the hospital which would eventually become a church or cathedral.   Today if a building is demolished in Rome or Spain and  if it is determined to be a burial site, the plot is to remain empty. In some cultures and religions, they believe that the person’s soul and body can not truly be at peace unless it is whole. Missing body parts aren’t whole.

Heartless and unconscionable:

The article used words like “cruelty” and “inexcusable misuse of handling of a body”They called it “appalling misconduct and grave robbery”. I call it heartless and unconscionable. How does someone in an authoritative position think it is their right to make decisions for someone’s body in death? Now I have it said by many inmates that they are property of the DOC however I do not think that applies in death. I had an extremely difficult time writing this article not because I didn’t have the words or the information. I’m having difficulty grasping how someone can be so heartless, and cruel and not care for human life.  There is a lawsuit for these families, I know there is no amount of money that will ever be enough to make things right or bring back their loved ones.

To the families that had to go through this horrendous tragedy, my deepest condolences. I hope your loved ones find peace.

If you have a comment or story I would love to hear from you. I appreciate all your comments and positivity. Until next time. Take care.



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