Sentencing Reform Bill Would Reduce Overcrowded Prisons


By Lisa Blackwell

A sentencing reform bill that would reduce prison overcrowding and save the state money passed the Alabama Senate today.

Lawmakers are hoping the measure will keep the federal government from taking over Alabama prisons.

Alabama’s prisons are severely overcrowded. The capacity is at 193 percent.

Legislators say Senate Bill 386 would help alleviate the situation.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Cam Ward, says it would allow the sentencing commission to set guidelines for non-violent offenders like those doing time for drug and alcohol offenses and instead, send them through community corrections programs.

Sen. Cam Ward, (R) District 14, says “What this allows us to do is start shifting more and more people away from sending them to prison, locking them up and throwing away the key for the non-violent offenses and help us with the prison overcrowding problem.”

The legislation would also help the state save money. Ward says it costs forty-two dollars per prisoner per day to keep them in jail. However, in some counties, it only costs around seventeen dollars per day per person to send them through community corrections.

“Almost seventy percent of new inmates going in are first time non violent offenders this bill will level off the first three years of prison population, after those three years I think you’ll start to see the decrease we’ve all been hoping for,” said Newton.

Ward says he hopes this legislation heads off any efforts by the federal government to intervene and release prisoners.

He says that happened in California and the state had to release 33,000 inmates, costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and fines, something Alabama can’t afford to do.

The bill now moves on to the house for debate.

You have indicated this comment should be removed.


The comment has been submitted for review. Thank you .

Mrs. Davis said on Wednesday, May 16 at 4:58 PM

California has not released no prisoners and does not plan too! This is not a rumor it is fact! California state prisons are still over populated and now flooding the local jails.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Add a comment


Comment: 1000 Characters Left

WNCF and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the above comments or other interaction among the users. Comments are posted on site immediately and without station moderation. If you feel a comment is inappropriate you may flag it for review. For guidelines on flagging comments see our Terms & Conditions. We reserve the right to screen, refuse to post, remove or edit user-generated content at any time and for any or no reason in our absolute and sole discretion without prior notice, although we have no duty to do so or to monitor any Public Forum.