RIP Judge Anthony Alaimo, “Hero” of the Georgia Federal Bench
When I was researching an earlier post on Judge Morris Lasker, who oversaw prison reform litigation in the Southern District of New York, I came across this obituary of Judge Anthony Alaimo of the Southern District of Georgia, who also died late last year. Like Judge Lasker, Judge Alaimo oversaw litigation in the 1970s to reform squalid conditions in a local penal institution in his district. In Judge Alaimo’s case, the jail in question was the notorious Georgia State Prison at Reidsville, where
Alaimo found racial violence and almost routine stabbings, rats in the prison’s hallways, standing waste water in the cell blocks and sewer lines hooked into the drinking water. More than 3,000 inmates were crammed into a prison that should have held only 1,000.
A Georgia lawyer shared his admiration for Judge Alaimo with the Jacksonville Times-Union:
“Judge Alaimo was my hero,” said lawyer Douglas Alexander, who as a Georgia Legal Services lawyer worked on a federal suit over conditions at the state prison at Reidsville and others in county jails.
“Having been a prisoner of war, he certainly knew what it was like to be a prisoner,” Alexander said.
Fittingly, there’s a recent biography of Judge Alaimo available from Mercer University Press, subtitled (what else) “American Hero.”