Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 8:10 AM


BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA. -- Four Birmingham-area men recently released from federal prisons sat in a jury box last Wednesday inside the Hugo L. Black U.S. Courthouse and listened to U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre explain a new program aimed at keeping them out of trouble -- and prison -- again.

All four men had been identified through a ranking system to be among those at highest risk to commit another crime.

Published in Prisoner Support
Alabama Prison Rec Yard
The Alabama Sentencing Commission is developing a plan for truth in sentencing. (AP Photo)

Published: Monday, July 04, 2011, 7:45 AM

By Katherine Sayre, Press-Register

MOBILE, Alabama -- One night last year, Carl Demetrius Smith pointed a gun at a Circle K clerk in west Mobile, tried and failed to steal cash, and ran away with an 18-pack of Bud Light, according to prosecutors.

Smith, 43, was out on parole at the time, having served less than half of a 20-year sentence for carjacking — one of about 2,800 people released on parole every year. He’s now back in prison, finishing his time.

In Alabama, it’s usually hard to know how long prison sentences will last. Inmates can shave off years for good behavior or be granted early release.

In a quiet process with far-reaching consequences, the Alabama Sentencing Commission — a panel of judges, lawyers and corrections officials created a decade ago — is working to establish clear rules for how long criminals spend behind bars.

Published in Prison Legal News


More than half of all Alaska prisoners released in 2004 returned to prison within three years, according to a national study released Wednesday by the Pew Center on the States.

At a recidivism rate of 50.4 percent, Alaska joined five other states -- Minnesota, California, Missouri, Illinois and Vermont -- where convicts are most likely to re-offend. The study tracked prisoners until 2007 and included more than 5,800 ex-cons in Alaska who were caught committing new crimes or breaking the conditions of their release before heading back behind bars.

Published in Prison Legal News

Originally published December 26, 2010 at 12:38 p.m.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Long after he leaves office next month, Gov. Bob Riley says he won't be able to forget 24 specific days during his eight years in office. Those are the days when an Alabama death row inmate was executed by lethal injection at Holman Prison in Atmore - deaths that Riley could have stopped with a phone call.

The 24 executions since Riley became governor in January, 2003 are the most under the watch of any Alabama governor since Frank Dixon was governor from 1939 to 1943, according to Department of Corrections records. There were 33 executions during Dixon's four years in office. The most during the administration of any Alabama governor since the state took over executions from the counties in the 1920s was 49 during the two terms of Gov. Bibb Graves in the 1920s and 1930s.

Published in Current Events