You have permission to edit this article.

A forbidding side trip

  • Updated
Holman prison

Holman Correctional Facility just north of Atmore.

Monday, July 28, 12:20 p.m. – ESCAMBIA COUNTY – Holman Correctional Facility – home to Alabama’s death row — isn’t on Alabama 21, and it isn’t in Atmore. So much for general opinions.

In truth, Holman is a few miles north of Atmore, even though people (including the media, ahem) often consider them one and the same. It’s in an unincorporated part of Escambia County. Its entrance, however, is on Alabama 21. You just can’t see the prison from the highway.

In fact, the entrance to this foreboding place is somewhat peaceful. Row crops surround the entrance, which has a nice sign and a guard house, but no one was in the house Monday morning. It takes about three-quarters of a mile drive down a small road surrounded by crops before you top a hill and catch your first glimpse of Holman: the guard towers, the barbed wire fencing, the numerous buildings, and the signage. Holman opened in 1969, and quite frankly, doesn’t look from the outside like it’s changed much in four decades.

Clearly, Alabama 21’s relationship to Holman isn’t like it is with Julia Tutwiler Prison for women in Wetumpka. There, the prison sits right on the road, in plain view.

To see Holman, you have to get off Alabama 21 and go to Holman, and even for a visitor, that’s not much fun.

- Phillip Tutor