HB57 / SB215 will strengthen the legislature’s oversight over the parole board after multi-year record low parole grants and as Alabama’s prisons remain unconstitutionally overcrowded and the subject of litigation by the Department of Justice. 

This bill would create a Criminal Justice Policy Development Council to review and assess the current guidelines and Board practices, as well as adopt new guidelines as necessary. HB57 / SB215 allows the policy development council to: 1) Update the inmate classification system for implementation by the Department of Corrections, 2) create and adopt parole guidelines to be implemented by the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and 3) allows legislators to adopt a validated risk and needs assessment that has been created and validated for the Alabama felony offender population to be implemented by the Department of Corrections and the Board of Pardons and Paroles. 

Read more about the board’s conformance at this report from the Campaign for Smart Justice.

Our Position

We support this bill. Per the ABPP's Annual Report (FY 2021, p.8), only 15.3% of paroles (648 of 4232) and 27.2% of pardons (353 of 1297) were granted despite many of the denied applicants having met the eligibility criteria of the release guidelines.

The largest drop in releases is happening at minimum-security prisons. This is particularly troubling given that the primary purpose of the Alabama Department of Correction's (ADOC’s) work centers and work releases are to “assist selected inmates in preparing for release and to aid in making the transition from a structured institutional environment back to the community,” according to ADOC’s administrative regulations.

Take Action

Ask Your Rep: Why Doesn’t the Parole Board Follow Its Own Guidelines?

Follow Along on Fast Democracy!

Click the play button below to see more information about HB57 / SB215 and other priority criminal legal reform bills — including where they are in the Legislature, the latest versions, and how you can sign up for e-mail updates from Fast Democracy.

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Page last revised: March 1, 2022