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Prison Reform, UA's Smoke Free Campus and The Offseason


     A state task force will weigh options this month for how to relieve severe overcrowding in Alabama prisons.

Committee members say the ideas will likely include sentencing changes, building new facilities to house inmates and increased resources for probation and parole.

Prison Reform Task Force Chairman Cam Ward says he hopes to have legislation ready in February.

 Alabama has the fourth-highest incarceration rate in the country. State prisons house about 25,000 inmates, nearly twice the number they were built to hold.

        Faculty and staff at the University of Alabama will find the rules are different when it comes to smoking. The Tuscaloosa campus declared itself smoke free on New Year’s Day. The new policy applies to students, faculty, staff, school visitors, and even contractors. The school says the change is meant to improve health and to reduce littering and the risk of fire. Thomas Carr is director of national policy with the American Lung Association. He says the University of Alabama is joining a growing of schools that ban smoking…

      “Close to a thousand are tobacco-free. So, that’s a ninety percent increase since September of 2012. So, it’s really been an amazing trend across the country as far as smoke-free and tobacco-free campuses are concerned.”

      A 2014 report from the U.S. Surgeon General says America lost over five billion dollars-worth of productivity to second hand smoke. The University of Alabama’s ban will not apply to smokeless tobacco.

      Fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide are looking ahead to the offseason following last week’s loss in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama fell to the Ohio State Buckeyes forty two to thirty five. The Bucks now face the Oregon Ducks for the first ever college football championship. Tide Head Coach Nick Saban says he hopes the younger players on the team will learn lessons from their experience in the Sugar Bowl…

                “There’s a lot of lessons that you learn when you have success and a lot of things you learn when you have failings. Hopefully, we’ll learn a lot from this experience which will help us in the offseason. But, I don’t think we going to change our philosophy in terms of how we do things. That philosophy has helped us win a lot of games.  And hopefully, it will continue to do the same thing in the future.”

     The Tide landed two key recruits over the weekend. Four star defensive tackle Daron Payne committed to Alabama along with five star cornerback Kendall Scheffield.

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