Faced with the most crowded prison system in the nation and overwhelmed probation and parole systems, state leaders in Alabama pursued justice reinvestment. After extensive analyses identified key challenges in the state’s criminal justice system, policymakers developed a policy framework designed to reduce prison overcrowding and strengthen community-based supervision.
In 2014, Alabama had the most crowded prison system in the nation, and two-thirds of the nearly 80,000 people convicted of felonies and under correctional control in Alabama were supervised in the state’s overwhelmed probation and parole systems, where caseloads average close to 200 cases per officer. From 2014 to 2015, the CSG Justice Center worked with policymakers to develop data-driven policy options designed to reduce prison overcrowding and increase public safety. CSG Justice Center experts analyzed Alabama’s criminal justice data and interviewed stakeholders from across the criminal justice system. In May 2015, Alabama leaders enacted justice reinvestment legislation (Senate Bill 67) as a first step toward improving their justice system. Among other things, the law:
- Strengthens community-based supervision and treatment;
- Prioritizes prison space for violent and dangerous offenders; and
- Provides supervision to every person released from prison and improves notification to victims regarding releases from prison.
If the policies are implemented properly, the new law is projected to reduce prison overcrowding from 195 percent to 164 percent of capacity between FY2016 and FY2021, lowering the prison population by 4,243 people during this period. To achieve the projected outcomes, Alabama will need to reinvest $151.5 million of the $379.5 million of projected averted prison construction and operations costs in additional supervision resources and community-based programs and treatment services between FY2016 and FY2021. Alabama is receiving ongoing implementation guidance from the CSG Justice Center.
Publications & Presentations
This report summarizes comprehensive analyses of sentencing, corrections, probation, and parole data presented to Alabama’s Prison Reform Task Force. It outlines strategies and policy options to reduce the prison population and recidivism in the state by strengthening community-based supervision and […]
Presentation delivered to the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force on January 29. Provides an overview of criminal justice system challenges and details the justice reinvestment policy recommendations and their estimated impact on the prison population.