BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Today, the ACLU of Alabama filed a public records request seeking a full roster of everyone who is being held in the Birmingham City Jail, the date of their booking, and the charge(s) for which they are being held for.
This follows an attempt on Friday May 8 to request this information in person at the jail, but staff at the Birmingham City Jail and Birmingham Police Department were unwilling to release this information, even though it should be openly available to any citizen as a matter of public record.
Investigative Reporter Beth Shelburne said:
“Citizens are entitled to know who is being held in taxpayer-funded jails and why, and that information has never been more critical than in the current COVID-19 pandemic. A jail roster, which is public information, should be readily available to anyone who asks for it. It should not require credentials or a formal open records request. If Birmingham police are unwilling to release the list of people inside the city jail, along with how long they have been there and why they are there, we have to wonder what they are trying to hide.”