In July 2023, Kelvin Moore, an inmate at # Alabama's Limestone Correctional Facility, died from a fentanyl overdose, leaving his family devastated. What made his death even more suspicious was the discovery that someone had removed most of his internal organs without consent. This revelation has brought attention to a broader issue of potential organ harvesting in Alabama's prisons.
Alabama's prisons have long faced issues of overcrowding and understaffing, leading to dangerous living conditions. The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state for cruel and unusual punishment, with a trial scheduled for November. Inmates have used cellphone videos to expose the dire conditions within these prisons, but the organ harvesting allegations have garnered particular public outrage.
#Birmingham civil rights attorney Lauren Faraino is investigating the case of missing organs and believes it reflects a systematic abuse situation. She argues that the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), which conducts autopsies for the prison system, has been taking the organs of incarcerated individuals without family consent for years.
The university has faced scrutiny for its practices, with former medical students claiming they raised concerns about inmate organ retention in 2018 but were not heard. Although a bill was passed in 2021 to prevent such practices, allegations suggest that the state and UAB continue to harvest organs without consent.
Kelvin Moore's family, determined to seek justice, discovered that most of his organs were missing and are planning to file a lawsuit. They believe that his case should serve as a warning and advocate for transparency and consent in organ retrieval from deceased inmates.
Kelvin Moore's brother Simone calls what happened to Moore's organs "thievery." "You cannot just arbitrarily open someone up and take what you want out of their body," he said. "It's just an atrocious act to know you've done that without our permission and we would not have agreed to it on any terms. We don't want this to happen to another family and it could be anyone, because everyone knows someone that's incarcerated."