Alabama lawmakers eye prison reform...

Apr 20, 2019

Alabama lawmakers could revisit criminal justice reform as the state grapples with prison overcrowding and a shortage of corrections officers. State Senator Cam Ward says sentencing reform will be part of a package of bills that lawmakers will consider. This legislation is in response to the threat of a Department of Justice lawsuit over conditions in Alabama prisons. Ward says other measures will seek to raise the pay of correctional officers and put additional oversight on the state prison system. The Justice Department says that male inmates are being housed in unconstitutional conditions with excessive violence, sexual abuse, and prisoner deaths. Alabama Public Radio’s national award-winning prison reform coverage included how Alabama was the only state in the nation that allowed judges to override jury recommendations of life in prison and impose the death penalty. The DOJ began an its investigation of prison conditions in Alabama within weeks of the airing of APR’s series and documentary. You can find those stories at apr.org.