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Advocacy Group: Tell Alabama crime victims when prisoners are released


A local nonprofit is raising concerns as the Alabama Department of Corrections releases several hundred inmates from state prisons. The early release program requires ADOC to notify victims as prisoners are let out. But workers with the group “Victims of Crime and Leniency” say that’s not happening. They say they’re getting calls from victims not notified of the release of inmates related to their cases. Janette Grantham is the director of VOCAL. She says she’s concerned victims aren’t getting the information they need.

“All weekend I’ve had calls from victims who have told me they have learned that someone- their defendant has gotten out, but they were not notified, and they tried to call and find out if that was true. No one would give them that answer,” Grantham said.

Victims are being encouraged to fill out a victim notification request with ADOC to make sure they will be contacted. Grantham says this is making life more challenging for those affected by crimes.

“The victims do not deserve that. They’ve already been victimized. They deserve a little bit of protection, and they should’ve had that,” she said. “I’m very disappointed that the victims were not notified as the law required.”

About eighty Alabama inmates were recently released with ankle monitors as a law takes effect. It requires inmates to spend the final few months of their prison sentence on supervised release. The law releases inmates to the supervision of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons between three and twelve months before their sentences end. The inmates would have been freed from prison anyway in the upcoming months when their sentences end but would not have ankle monitors. The 2021 law was touted by proponents as a public safety measure designed to make sure inmates are monitored when they leave prison.

Alex Pfenenger is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. He is a senior at the University of Alabama studying Creative Media. He has a passion for creating audio content, which lead him to podcasting and radio work. In his free time, Alex enjoys watching sports, listening to music, and serving at the local church.
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