CSG Justice CenterCSG Justice Center

‘You Ought to Get a Second Chance’: Several Alabama Inmates Resentenced


By Ivana Hrynkiw

Geneva Cooley only got in trouble once during her years in prison, and it was because she was found with an extra blanket. It was cold in her dorm, she said. Many people argue Cooley shouldn’t have even been in prison at all when she received that disciplinary infraction in the spring of 2011. Cooley had been convicted of illegal drug trafficking in Jefferson County in 2006 and—though she had never been convicted of another felony—was sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison without the possibility of parole due to the amount of drugs she was carrying. Cooley maintains she was just a drug courier and not otherwise involved in illegal drug trade. Now, Cooley is 71 years old. A Jefferson County judge amended her sentence earlier this year to a term of life with the possibility of parole and, after appearing before the three-member parole board in August, records show she was granted parole.

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