Background: House Bill 228 will allow parole applicants to virtually attend their parole hearings, which under existing law, they are unable to. The bill also makes several updates to the parole hearing process to increase the consideration of medical conditions of inmates. This includes “weighted consideration” of the age and health of an inmate when considering parole. Substantive timelines are also set within the bill for parole applicants to have their cases heard.
Our Position: We are in support of HB228. Alabama’s prisons are facing the effect of mass incarceration with overcrowding. Dormitory-style facilities in prisons in our state with hundreds of incarcerated people result in a dangerous environment for inmates and staff alike. The ACLU supports increasing access to parole as part of the rehabilitative process. Furthermore, the ACLU believes that parole applicants have the right to be present for the hearings discussing their parole status. Passing this bill will allow parole applicants to be present in the process that affects them.