“Funny” Prison Video Not Fun for Officers Working Behind Bars

Mobile, AL (WKRG)

The most eye-catching video on WKRG all week is also raising eyebrows across the state.  People are still trying to figure out the story behind the mannequin challenge video shot recently inside an Alabama prison. For the corrections officers meant to keep the peace, the video raises more fears than fun.

When it comes to viral videos inside Alabama prisons, some see little difference between something as strange as a mannequin challenge and something as dangerous as this year’s Holman Prison riot video.

“You can see, first off, this video is a mockery of the system.  It highlights the system as broken,” said the host of a talk show on corrections, Anthony Gangi. He’s also an outspoken advocate for corrections officers on his online show called “Tier Talk.” I spoke to him via FaceTime. He says both videos expose weaknesses in the state prison system, even something as innocuous as prisoners standing still.

“It’s not meant for people to enjoy.  It’s meant to show people this facility’s in trouble, the more people laugh about it, the situation will never get resolved,” said Gangi. One of the big questions from this video is why aren’t corrections officers breaking it up? Gangi suggests maybe this particular prison just doesn’t have the manpower it needs.

“A lot of people don’t realize this is a problem of under-staffing facilities,” said Gangi. “It’s not the problem of officers not wanting to do their job, it’s a problem of can the officers do their job?” The video also exposes the seeming ease of access to cell phones and possibly more dangerous contraband.

“Until somebody gets hurt, that’s when people do something about it, but at that point, we become totally reactive and it’s too late,” said Gangi. He argues this is something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place–and if CO’s only react to problems the situation is already out of control. We’ve reached out to the doc to get an update on the video and any disciplinary action. A spokesman says they still haven’t determined which prison it came from.

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