Scheduled release of over 400 inmates spawns multiple reactions in north Alabama

Nearly 400 inmates to be released on Jan. 31
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 12:02 AM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Alabama Department of Corrections is set to release 408 inmates on Tuesday.

Inmates with charges ranging from marijuana possession to murder whose sentences were set to end within this year will be released under the supervision of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles because of prison reform legislation.

Kim Crawford, Director of the Homicide Survivors Program, said this program is devastating news for victims.

“They went through the whole justice system where a lot of times, even if that person got sentenced they still don’t feel like they were heard or validated, and I feel like they’re going to feel like that all over again,” said Crawford. “This can’t just be a carte-blanche for all these 360 whatever people”.

State Attorney General Steve Marshall filed an emergency lawsuit claiming ADOC did not give proper notification to the victims’ families under state law. Marshall said roughly 60% of inmates to be released have committed violent offenses against individuals. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.

The law requires inmates to be released between three and twelve months before their sentence ends to be supervised by the Board of Pardon and Paroles for the remainder of that time and subjected to electronic monitoring.

Alabama lawmakers approved the measure in 2021 along with legislation authorizing the construction of new prisons.

According to parole officers, all inmates have a housing plan approved by the department of corrections post-release. Cam Ward, Director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, says the department is working to keep everyone safe.

“Everyone has a right to be concerned. the number one priority is public safety and we’re going to do everything in our power to enforce the law and maintain public safety.”

Alabama prisons are facing an overcrowding issue, while at the same time, the state is granting fewer paroles. Criminal law attorney, John Brinkley, believes this release will help get convicts back on their feet.

“This program that they have is one that will allow them to reintegrate into society and hopefully be better citizens when they’re released,” said Brinkley.

Inmates convicted of sex crimes involving children are not eligible for release under the law.

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