MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Lee Lewis served his time in Alabama prisons. He saw people stabbed to death and witnessed assaults.
“It is violent in there now,” Lewis said.
Lewis is a member of the Offender Alumni Association.
“You’re around a lot of violent offenders who feel they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do to come out of there alive,” he said.
LeCeadricke Young also witnessed some brutality as a formerly incarcerated person.
“My experience was harsh, and it was bad, and it kind of troubled me a little bit,” Young said.
Both former inmates attended a meeting where state officials talked about ways to fix the prison system.
Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn talked about the successes and areas of improvement.
“Broadly speaking address the culture that we feel is not where we want it to be in the department," said Dunn. "We see pockets of improvement.”
The commissioner, Lewis and Young all agreed that more corrections officers are needed.
“At any moment the inmates can just take over the prisons," Lewis explained. "So you’ve got officers that they will compromise and just let inmates do whatever they want to do just turn their head.”
The ADOC has said new prisons will help with the violence because the current ones are decades old. They said it would allow for smaller groups of inmates in each room.
Some former inmates though say they prefer focusing on curbing the violence.
“They really need to know what’s going on," Young said.