Prison Reform Advocate Planted Guns in New Jail for Future Jailbreak

alex friedmann prison legal news

Courtesy Davidson County Sheriffs Office

[ED: What this AP story doesn’t mention is that this celebratedprison reform advocate” had spent ten years in a Tennessee prison for attempted murder, armed robbery, and attempted aggravated robbery.]

From the Associated Press:

A longtime prison reform advocate was preparing to stage a jail break when he hid loaded guns and ammunition in a new jail that was under construction, Tennessee authorities said Wednesday.

Alex Friedmann, a former prisoner turned crusader against private prisons and a longtime editor at Prison Legal News, was charged last month with attempted burglary. He was accused of gaining access to the new jail by dressing as a construction worker and stealing keys.

As the investigation continued, “it was discovered that Mr. Friedmann, over many months, had developed and implemented an extremely deliberate and, in my opinion, evil plan,” Nashville Sheriff Daron Hall said during a Wednesday news conference announcing Friedmann’s re-arrest on upgraded charges.

Friedmann is now charged with vandalism of $250,000 or more, with his bond set at $2.5 million.

Friedmann’s attorney, Ben Raybin, said he could not immediately comment on the new charges.

Hall said he believes Friedmann was designing a massive jail break that would endanger “every inmate, every visitor and our entire community.”

“Virtually everything I’m telling you is on video” Hall said, noting that investigators have poured through hundreds of hours of video to identify the areas of the building that were compromised.

Hall currently serves as president of the National Sheriff’s Association and said no one there has ever seen anything like this before.

“It will forever change how correctional facilities are built,” he said.

Prison Legal News is a project of the nonprofit Human Rights Defense Center. Friedmann resigned as editor after his earlier arrest in January, executive director Paul Wright said in a telephone interview.


  1. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    That is an interesting version of “prison reform.” Sounds like terrorism, since he would be unleashing armed prisoners into the community merely to say “incarceration is bad” and letting them get their revenge for political reasons. And I guess when the dust settled we would all want to vote to treat prisoners nicer for some reason?

    Meanwhile, the gun related question, how was Mr. Felon/prison activist planning to acquire the guns? Straw purchase from fellow prison reformers, black market, make them, steal them, etc?

  2. avatar Kendahl says:

    I guess he’ll be working on prison reform from behind bars. Would it be appropriate to call that an inside job? He shouldn’t have been in such a rush. “Prison reform” has become a code phrase for “let the criminals get away with it”.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      “he’ll be working on prison reform from behind bars”

      Think globally, act locally

  3. avatar Nanashi says:

    Notice the absence of felon in possession of a firearm in the charges.

    1. avatar Tom Root says:

      That’s because the state has charged him. Felon-in-possession (18 USC 922(g)(1)) is predominately used by the Feds (although most states have similar laws). If the Feds get involved, expect an F-I-P.

  4. avatar Brodirt says:

    Here in NY that would be a non-violent crime and he’d be sent off on his own recognizance.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      If this happened in NY De Blasio and Cuomo would have supplied the guns and ammo. /Sarc

      1. avatar Tired of the bs says:

        Sarcasm hell probably the truth

  5. avatar Gregory Peter DuPont says:

    Give him an A for effort… guess he was taking the long view. And now he’s going to be gone for The Long Time.

  6. avatar strych9 says:

    While I don’t support what he did… damn, that’s some long term strategery right there.

    1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      I can’t help but to wonder if he was planning for his own future incarceration or was just doing this to help others?

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Without further information I would rate both options as equally probable.

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          *Nice* use of strategery, BTW… 😉

  7. avatar California Richard says:

    “It will forever change how correctional facilities are built,”

    Nobody has ever considered sabotage by construction workers to be a thing over the 5000 years of prison construction?

    1. avatar Dan W says:

      This guy is apparently a pioneer.

      1. avatar arc says:

        Reminds me of Blue Streak when that diamond was stashed in an under-construction popo station.

    2. avatar Slow Joe Crow says:

      It’s like the US Embassy in Moscow that the KGB filled with bugs during construction

  8. avatar MouseGun says:

    These types of people are in the same category as white girls with purple hair; they tend to be assholes.

    1. avatar Dan W says:

      Danger hair, like a brightly colored toad.

      1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

        “Danger hair” I love it LOL.

    2. avatar strych9 says:

      Your prejudice is showing and it says a fuckload more about you than it does about people who dye their hair an outrageous color.

      Hilariously, most of them probably come across as assholes because they detected right off the bat that you didnt like them, so why would they be nice to you?

      1. avatar Ragnar says:

        Well said strych9 !!!

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        If I call out people on the internet, maybe girls will touch my peepee

    3. avatar BASHer says:

      Aposematism, often via bright colors is the advertising by an animal to potential predators that it is not worth attacking or eating.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “I like big butts, I cannot lie…” 🙂

  9. avatar Prndll says:

    I think there was a Barney Miller episode kinda like this.

  10. avatar Dan W says:

    Prisons need to be done away with. If it’s safe to have you in the general public, some other punishment needs to be found. If it’s not safe you have you in the general public, you need to be gotten rid of.

    1. avatar arc says:

      Exactly. The only reason to keep someone in a cage is if they are a flight risk awaiting trial. Everything else can be handled with shaming, ostracization, fines or public flogging.

      1. avatar Burt says:

        So what do you two know it alls do, to the ones where none of that stuff works on?

        1. avatar Ron says:

          Well there’s what the guy below just said. Take em to the chop shop and give the left overs to someone more deserving.

      2. avatar TweetyRex says:

        And when all else fails, Organ Donor.

  11. avatar Randy Jones says:

    It just seems that for repeat offenders there should come a time when you say to them, ‘You’ve killed people, raped people, terrorized people and are a perfect match for two people needing a kidney, one needing a liver and one needing a heart….

    1. avatar Ron says:

      Exactly. Cut em up for spare parts.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        So you guys are good with the chinese communist prison program?

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          Some people in the gun community are no friends at all to this country, basic morality or much of anything else that isn’t in their immediate self-interest. They’re short sited, self absorbed, holier-than-thou morons.

          Such is life.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Klaus. I’m just not at all comfortable with giving the .gov the right to execute, let alone harvest, we the people.

          How often does the .gov get anything right? Now, if you want repeat offenders put on an island somewhere and given tools and seeds and live stock I’m willing to talk.

        3. avatar Phil says:

          They have been found guilty by other citizens the “Governement” does not. But keep repeating that lie. If you want to keep evil around instead of doing the sensible thing and offing it you should also suffer the consequences. Not me, not the next victim, just people who think like you.

        4. avatar Ron says:

          Given the chance, they’d cut up you and everyone you love. I’d prefer we cut them up first. That’s the reality of the world we live in.

        5. avatar James Campbell says:

          “strych9 says:….”Some people in the gun community are no friends at all to this country…..”

          You do know, this statement works WITHOUT the word “gun” in the first sentence, right?

          Some people in the community are no friends at all to this country.

        6. avatar Ron says:

          I’ll take it a step further, I’ve got a problem with this idea that I’m in some arbitrary “community” because I own guns. And because of this I’m supposed to think a certain way.

          To hell with that. I’m in no ones silly commune. I’m an individual and an American. I don’t live by academic nuances or libertarian dreamscapes, because the real world doesn’t work like academia says it does.

        7. avatar strych9 says:

          Ignoring all the moral implications of this, let’s just go with incentives.

          What happens when it becomes profitable to transplant the organs of criminals? (Which it will on day 1.)

          Does anyone really think that there are not people in this government who would not stoop to the level of *creating* repeat offenders for the power and the money that they could glean from selling the organs of such *undesirable people*? What happens when someone like Bernie gets in, the government has all your medical records and suddenly all those people with relatively rare blood types *magically* have criminal records for repeated instances of some objectively horrible crime?

          Jesus Christ, you think ERPOs might violate due process, wait til there’s a few hundred grand in organs on the table. Maybe they just pop you in the brainbox, say you were resisting and move right to cashing in. Fuck the cost of a kangaroo court or fudging documents, just have a body cam *malfunction* and collect a cashier’s check.

          A good portion of the people here believe cops will plant evidence just for the numbers. What happens when those same bad apples get a cut of the proceeds? A goodly portion of the people here believe that cops are generally altruistic and good, what happens when the troubled conscience lets criminals go because the troubled conscience has an issue with harvesting organs from people and fears the system might just go after the organs rather than justice? Or when that conscience comes to believe that the system has been corrupted by *good* and is flat-out railroading and sacrificing people who don’t deserve it?

          You really want to take that power and that incentive structure and hand it over to a government that most don’t trust not to fuck up a cup of coffee? A government that has spent the least 80+ years running roughshod over our rights in the name of “progress”? You want USPS levels of competence in dealing out death when there’s a massive profit motive on the side against individual liberties, due process and justice? You really think a government can be trusted with that? Wow. I mean, just fucking wow.

        8. avatar Ron says:

          Yeah that’s what I suggested… harvest all the millions prisoners in America for organs… 🙄hyperventilate why don’t ya…. from 0 to fuckin Holocaust in a less the a nanobyte around here.

        9. avatar strych9 says:

          Beautiful straw-man there Ron. Really top notch. A little to the left and you’ll best Donatello.

        10. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

          My bad. 140.

          JWM – I was talking mostly in jest about the organ harvest thing. I like your island idea though for people like the above.

        11. avatar Ron says:

          I think you’re the kinda guy that just gets butthurt when not everyone buys into your specific set of beliefs.

          Hint: real life experience dictates different reality then cute online memes and head in the sky wishes. Before you decide you want to give all these nine million chances to prove themselves, I suggest you get some experience with them face to face. You’ll quickly find out they’re not people, and their not deserving of the precious organs the hold, which could be better served in an innocent child.

  12. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    ̶P̶r̶i̶s̶o̶n̶ ̶R̶e̶f̶o̶r̶m̶ ̶A̶d̶v̶o̶c̶a̶t̶e̶ Terrorist Planted Guns in New Jail for Future Jailbreak.

    There I fixed it.

  13. avatar Sam Hill says:

    He was a man with a plan.
    As an ex-prison guard at a maximum security facility I’m all for reform. First t-offenders, give them a break, but for the grace of God, go I. Second time offenders, hang them high in public, sell tickets give that money to the victims or their families, plus half the money saved by not housing, and paying for babysitting. After about a year or so, might be able to cut back on police and pay them better out of the funds generated by television rights. If the first offense was against a child under seventeen, hang them twice as high and don’t drop them, pull them up by hand.

  14. avatar Miner49er says:

    Just another sovereign citizen protecting his God-given rights, ensuring his freedom of mobility and his right to keep and bear arms.

    No God-given right can be taken by a court of man, that which is divinely given can only be divinely taken.

    Damn the man!

    1. avatar Ron says:

      Yeah you sure sound like a forty whiners fan

  15. avatar possum says:

    This man attempted many things.

  16. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    Strych9 Quote: “Does anyone really think that there are not people in this government who would not stoop to the level of *creating* repeat offenders for the power and the money that they could glean from selling the organs of such *undesirable people*? What happens when someone like Bernie gets in, the government has all your medical records and suddenly all those people with relatively rare blood types *magically* have criminal records for repeated instances of some objectively horrible crime?”

    Yes, there are people in this government today who would gladly “harvest the organs” of law abiding citizens. Just listen to democrats, they have publicly called for killing conservatives.

    In the 1960s the left wing anarchists made plans for when the took over. They calculated they would have to “eliminate” 25 million conservatives. Today their list is over 50 million, just based on population growth.

    The utopia that Bernie and all the other “democrat” candidates want to lead us to the USSR or Mao’s China where they killed a hundred million or so of their “citizens”.

  17. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    Current example of government control:

    UK Health Minister has new policy, if you are misogynist, homophobic, racist, Islamophobic, etc….you will no longer receive health care.

    Strange that policies like this always come from the left.

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