Alabama Prison Study
A group given the task of studying Alabama's prison overcrowding has found that arrests are declining and sentences are getting shorter. However, the study also shows that the state's prisons remain at nearly double their designed capacity. The Council of State Governments Justice Center presented the findings to the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force. The report shows that felony arrests in Alabama declined about 21 percent from 2009 to 2013. New state sentencing guidelines that took effect in October 2013 are resulting in shorter sentences for many non-violent crimes. But prison overcrowding is still a problem because the rate of inmates being paroled has dropped from 42 percent in 2009 to 36 percent in 2013. The task force is trying to help the state avoid a federal lawsuit over its prison conditions.