On November 6, JEFFERSON COUNTY WILL ELECT THE MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: District Attorney.
capacity, which Alabama’s prisons were at in 2017.
of Alabama prisoners are serving a sentence of 20 years or more.
Alabama has a problem with incarceration. Today, over 28,000 people are in Alabama’s state-run prisons, which are operating at an astonishing 164 percent capacity, making it the most overcrowded prisons in the country.
But we didn’t get to this place by accident. It is the result of deliberate choices by generations of policymakers and elected officials. Lengthy sentencing practices, driven by legislators passing mandatory minimum sentencing laws and by prosecutors insisting on charging individuals with the maximum offenses, have meant that around half of Alabama’s prisoners have a 20-year sentence or more.
Our prison system has become unsustainable and expensive. In 2016, Alabama spent nearly half a billion dollars of its general fund on corrections.
As more people enter prison, stay longer, and aren’t released, these numbers will continue to climb.