To create a better understanding of recent crime and criminal justice population trends both nationally and at the state level, the CSG Justice Center hosted the 50-State Summit on Public Safety in November 2017 in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, or ASCA. The summit came at a time when public safety officials and crime data are telling a complex story
Alabama Media Coverage
In the Media
A new study has found that Alabama is one of 13 states that saw their prison spending, prison populations and crime rates decline between 2010 and 2015.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions penned a memo to federal prosecutors in early May asking them to stop seeking lenient sentences for drug offenders and instead seek “the most serious, readily provable” charges.
With the subject of Alabama’s prison population problem in the news regularly it is important to correct many myths that have arisen about our prison population. Many of these myths are so common that they are generally accepted by many as established facts. We can’t adequately address the problem of prison overcrowding without understanding the true facts.
The criminal justice system has historically relied on human judgment for sentencing, but Alabama’s recent criminal justice reforms are attempting to equate human error to a quantifiable number.
Alabama lawmakers next year could once again face calls to build new prisons in order to reduce overcrowding.
The fact that Alabama’s prisons are overcrowded was not debated. Nor was the fact that a solution needs to be found at a state level before the federal courts intervene.
What was debated at the Dale County Republican Committee meeting June 20 was how the state should deal with the fact that the state prison population is at about 186 percent of what the facilities were originally designed for.
A portion of sweeping prison reform in Alabama has been centered on adding 100 new parole officers throughout the state as a means of lessening officers’ caseload and giving more attention to those under their watch. Since the recommendation of bringing on the new parole officers, 49 officers have been hired statewide as of June.
The hiring of 100 new probation and parole officers is part of a new push to strengthen public safety and lower recidivism in the state’s prison system.
Alabama is reforming its criminal justice system because a complex web of interconnected problems left it near implosion—a mess of spent money, wasted lives and broken families. As Alabama becomes the latest conservative state of the Deep South to reform its criminal justice system, the challenge, state leaders and outside experts say, may be the greatest yet.
Governor Robert Bentley recently testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to highlight Alabama’s prison reform efforts.
Governor Robert Bentley (AL) joins other state and local leaders to sign historic criminal justice reforms into law.
Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday will join other state and local leaders to sign historic criminal justice reforms into law.
Prison reform legislation is finally sitting on the governor’s desk, waiting on his signature.
The Alabama Prison Reform Task Force today approved a set of policy recommendations intended to reduce prison crowding by curbing recidivism and preserving prison space for violent offenders.
Alabama’s overcrowded prison system has been under close scrutiny since the Justice Department started investigating it last year.
An article last week in the New York Times detailed how the Charles and David Koch have joined forces with an unlikely ally—the left-leaning Center for American Progress—to fund a multi-million dollar campaign to push sentencing, probation and other criminal justice reform nationwide.The conversion of conservatives to criminal justice reform isn’t new.
As Alabama’s Legislative Session gets closer, the momentum for prison reform is at an all-time high. The current prison overcrowding crisis provides a great opportunity for the legislature to address a problem that has increased in urgency for years.
MONTGOMERY — Looking to solve the crowding problem in Alabama’s prison system, state Sen. Cam Ward has a 112-page draft of a bill on his desk that he says would significantly reduce the number of inmates.
Alabama is facing a crisis of overcrowding and inhumane conditions in its prison system, and Alabama Media Group is on record calling for immediate reform.
The Alabama Prison Reform Task Force is currently considering a slate of recommendations from the Council of State Governments to address Alabama’s poorly performing prisons.
Alabama’s state prisons were built for about 13,300 inmates but now hold approximately 26,000.
Alabama’s overcrowded prisons should house the most dangerous inmates while the state focuses on supervising and treating other offenders, consultants say.
If Alabama wants to get its prison crisis under control, it should begin moving nonviolent offenders into alternative sentencing programs; divert the least serious felony offenders into those programs; ensure supervision is a mandatory component of sentences and make new investments in staffing at the Board of Pardons and Parole.
More parole officers, a new classification of low-level felonies, and more supervision of inmates after release are three of more than a dozen recommendations issued today by the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force.
A prison reform group on Thursday suggested creating a new felony class for the least serious property and drug crimes as one of the solutions for Alabama’s chronically overcrowded prisons
Shortly after being appointed chairman of the Alabama House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, was talking about Alabama’s prison system with consultants hired to make them better.
As Alabamians, it is our responsibility to confront and address problems that plague our state and limit our ability to grow and progress economically and otherwise.
Gov. Robert Bentley and legislative leaders said last week that efforts to address the massive overcrowding in state prisons will be at the top of their agenda when the regular session begins in March.
Lawmakers expect a proposal from Gov. Robert Bentley on how to fix the persistent shortages in the state’s General Fund, the main source of state money for prisons, Medicaid, and many other state services.
It was easy to pay little attention to rampant prison overcrowding when there was no political benefit to be gained from confronting it.
Alabama is in the midst of an ambitious reimagining of its criminal justice system, with motivation from an unlikely place: California.
Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, for once appear unified on something — fixing Alabama’s prison system before it implodes under its own weight.
A state task force will weigh options this month for how to relieve severe overcrowding in Alabama prisons.
Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster), the lawmaker who heads the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force, said he wants members to look at a “buffet” of proposals in January and hopefully have a bill ready in February.
While overcrowding in Alabama prisons is a major issue, it is but one component in a much larger and more complex environment that deprives prisoners of their most elemental rights as human beings.
System Lacks Mercy, Says Roy Moore, and ‘I’m not a liberal’. The consultant is talking about his tour of Alabama prisons.
On Jan. 17, 2014, Alabama received a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice detailing heinous conditions at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women — staff-on-inmate rape, strip shows run by guards, voyeurism of the type that would have sent someone to jail had it occurred outside prison walls.
Even as the number of people going to prison has declined in recent years, Alabama’s overall inmate population has barely budged.
Alabama’s jam-packed prisons would have released 2,000 more inmates if the rate of parole had not dropped in the last five years, a researcher told the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force today.
Reversing a criminal justice culture rooted in harsh punishments is not going to be easy for this conservative state, which faces more challenges than most other states in the country.
Billy Canary, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, follows up with Andrew Barbee from the Council of State Governments Justice Center and State Senator Cam Ward of Alabaster about Justice reform in Alabama and specifically “Project Justice Reinvestment”.
Alabama claims one of the top five spots in the country for highest incarceration rates.
Community supervision for offenders is one of three areas the Council of State Governments Justice Center is looking at with a panel of criminal justice stakeholders in Alabama, the Prison Reform Task Force
The CSG Justice Center is helping Alabama tackle prison reform and is working to reduce prison overcrowding in Nebraska and Washington.
A 24-member panel — the Prison Reform Task Force — is working with the Council of State Governments Justice Center to analyze the system and find ways to reduce overcrowding, reduce recidivism and improve public safety.
If anything is clear from the research presented at the meeting of the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force last week, it is that there is no easy or inexpensive way of dealing with the state’s crushing prison overcrowding problem.
A group studying overcrowding in Alabama’s prisons has found that arrests are declining and sentences are getting shorter. But Alabama’s prisons remain at nearly double their designed capacity.
As the state’s prisons sit at 200 percent capacity, the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force may have found, in part, a solution for the woefully under funded system, in a place the committee likely never expected: The Department of Pardons and Paroles.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center took an in depth look at what’s keeping our prisons at almost 200 percent capacity.
Alabama judges are sending fewer people to prison because of new sentencing guidelines, but prisons remain at almost twice their capacity because of a slower parole rate, a high rate of return for those released and other factors.
As the state’s prisons sit at 200 percent capacity, the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force may have found, in part, a solution for the woefully underfunded system in a place the committee likely never expected: The Department of Pardons and Paroles.
Alabama was one of a handful of states chosen earlier this year by the nonprofit Council of State Governments Justice Center for a program that will provide a comprehensive study of the justice system and recommendations for reform.
State Sen. Cam Ward, the chairman of the Prison Reform Task Force, said the state needs to strengthen its alternative sentencing and fight a “drug epidemic” to reduce prison overcrowding.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center gathered state and local leaders from across the nation―including respected legislators, court and law enforcement officials and cabinet secretaries―to discuss complex criminal justice policies at its annual Board of Directors meeting during the week of Sept. 17 in Memphis, Tenn.
A discussion with Sen. Cam Ward and Andrew Barbee from the Council of State Governments Justice Center about justice reform in Alabama.
State Sen. Cam Ward told a congressional panel today that Alabama has a “failed corrections system” and that the “political courage” to invest in programs such as community corrections and drug courts are the key to fixing it.
A lot of statistics crop up in discussions of Alabama’s prison system, such as the oft-cited reality that the system has almost twice as many inmates as its facilities were built to hold.
Bringing reform to Alabama’s overcrowded prisons will be expensive and time-consuming, and it will require the cooperation of every branch of government, state leaders said Tuesday morning.
Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday announced the launch of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), a comprehensive study of the state’s criminal justice system that will identify ways to implement more cost effective criminal justice policies.
Alabama’s Prison Reform Task Force met for the first time today, launching what could be ambitious changes for the state’s criminal justice system.
Our state is at a crossroads when it comes to our prison system.
A national organization that helps states analyze and improve their criminal justice systems could offer recommendations for Alabama by December, if its involvement receives final approval.
The chairman of the Alabama Legislature’s prison oversight committee said meetings will begin next month with a national group to come up with a long-range plan to fix some of the state’s prison problems.
Get ready to hear a lot more about big changes, specifically sentencing reform, in relation Alabama’s prison crisis.
Gov. Robert Bentley, Chief Justice Roy Moore and four lawmakers said Tuesday they had formally requested to be part of a federal program aimed at helping states cut corrections spending.
MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Gov. Robert Bentley formally announced today that Alabama has requested assistance from outside groups that could “transform the landscape of our criminal justice system for the better.”
Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday announced Alabama has requested assistance from the Council of State Governments Justice Center, in conjunction with the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Bureau of Justice Center, to assist efforts to implement more cost effective corrections policies by examining the entire criminal justice system.
Gov. Robert Bentley and other state officials are asking the Council of State Governments Justice Center for help in improving the state’s troubled prison system.