By the time Teresa Morris died, her legs were so badly swollen that the prison shackles dug into them.
A 53-year-old diabetic serving time for domestic violence at Tutwiler Prison for Women, Morris spent the hours before her March 6 death shackled in a hospital bed in Montgomery.
Prison officials say she died of natural causes. Morris's family believes the prison medical staff, employees of private contractor Prison Health Services, provided inadequate care for her diabetes. They say she was taken off her insulin shots, for reasons the family does not understand.
Morris's relatives did not get a chance to say good-bye. Someone from the prison called them about 3 p.m. March 6, and by the time they arrived from Alexander City she was dead, said her mother, Betty Peters, 72.
The shackles were still on her daughter, a security precaution after she was taken from prison to a hospital.
"They wouldn't take the shackles off her legs, and her legs was so swollen. They were as big as my head," Peters said. "She was still warm, so I kissed her and held her hand."