State Initiatives: Alabama

The Montgomery Advertiser recently noted, “Unlike most of his predecessors, [Republican] Gov. Bob Riley has successfully pushed reforms designed to lower inmate populations and to decrease recidivism. He has sought to increase the state's work release program.”i

Despite efforts to demand a greater return on taxpayer public safety dollars, the state faces many corrections challenges. For example, in 2009, one prison was more than 300 percent over capacity.ii The state has one of the nation’s highest incarceration rates, with more than 30,000 inmates in state lockups.iii

According to a October 21, 2010 Auburn Plainsman story recapping a gubernatorial forum, Republican Governor-elect Robert Bentley “added that prison reform was needed to address the number of drug-addicted individuals currently incarcerated in state prisons.”iv

The Alabama Sentencing Commission is working to strengthen the state’s utilization of offender risk/needs assessment instruments. These are tools that research has demonstrated enhances the cost-effective use of correctional resources by matching the supervision strategy, sanction, or program with the type of offender for whom that approach has been proven to reduce recidivism.v

iTight Fit,” Montgomery Advertiser, 9 Aug. 2009.

ii Ibid.

iii National Institute of Corrections, Alabama Profile.

iv "Sparks, Bentley showcase platforms for Alabama," Auburn Plainsman, 21 Oct. 2010.

v Marc A. Levin, "The Role of Risk Assessment in Enhancing Public Safety and Efficiency in Texas Corrections," Texas Public Policy Foundation, July 2010.
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