By Tom M. CascioPublished March 14, 2019 04:23:00Forestry workers often go out of their way to avoid public scrutiny or even being called to testify before a grand jury, but that’s about to change.
New guidelines that prison architects are required to follow as part of their work with prisoners are being implemented in all state correctional facilities, including those in Alabama.
Those guidelines say they’re required to make sure inmates have access to “reasonable and necessary” legal services and not to ask for “access to a particular area” to be protected.
But the guidelines are meant to protect prisoners from legal representation during prison hearings, and it’s unclear how much protection that is.
So far, Alabama has taken the approach of requiring architects to give all prisoners an opportunity to defend themselves in court.
They can be charged with a misdemeanor for that, but there is no penalty for violating the rules.
A spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Corrections told ABC News the state is now working with the Architectural Board of Alabama to develop rules for the construction and use of the prison architecture building, including in the event of an inmate’s death.
The Alabama Department for the Correction is also looking into other areas, spokeswoman Emily Brown said in an email.
But for now, architects are going to be the ones deciding what goes on inside the prison, she said.
“The state is currently working with an attorney to develop a protocol for how prisoners will be able to present themselves to the Architect,” Brown said.