Most people assume prisons are dangerous places. But Alabama prisons with the highest levels of inmate-on-inmate violence aren't necessarily the state facilities with the


worst reputations. According to a Birmingham News analysis of figures from the state Department of Corrections.
Published in Prison Legal News
March 14, 2012 at 4:34 PM by AHN   Tom Ramstack – AHN News Legal Correspondent
Two prison cells shown empty and side by side

Washington, D.C., United States (AHN) – The Supreme Court plans to deal with a vexing dilemma next week of when criminals who commit murder are too young to be sentenced to long prison terms.

The hearing involves separate cases of two boys who committed brutal murders when they were 14 years old.

They both were sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole, which prompted outrage among advocates of juvenile justice.

They accuse the courts of brutality for failing to recognize that the boys’ immaturity might have contributed to their criminal behavior.

Alabama’s Equal Justice Initiative, which will argue the case next week on behalf of the defendants, says life in prison for children violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban against “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Published in Prison Legal News

File picture of Limetone Correctional Facility in Alabama.

 

Dozens of Alabama prison inmates have been transferred, after a tornado damaged a Limestone County prison.
Published in Current Events

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

Published: Sunday, January 15, 2012, 8:30 AM     Updated: Sunday, January 15, 2012, 9:52 AM By Kent Faulk -- The Birmingham News

Image of hands holding a bagful of crack cocaine.

The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 changed how judges sentenced felons for crack cocaine offenses as compared to those sentences for crimes involving powdered cocaine. (The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA -- Willie Thomas Morris left the federal prison at Talladega a free man on Nov. 8 after having served about two-thirds of a nine-year and two-month sentence for his conviction on gun and crack cocaine charges.

"His family was very happy to have him back home, especially before the holidays," said Scott Brower, the Birmingham lawyer who had represented Morris after he was charged.

Published in Prison Legal News
Monday, 16 January 2012 16:28

Getting Prison Numbers Down—For Good

By Malcolm C. Young  Sunday, January 01, 2012

Any attention to mass incarceration is welcome in a nation where prison reformers, community groups, advocates from across the political spectrum, major foundations, and many policymakers favor reducing prison incarceration—currently at levels that have no peacetime historical or international precedent.

Yet despite evidence that the U.S. Prison System as a whole may at last have turned away from the annual increases in state prison incarceration that began in the early 1970s, it remains to be seen whether progress toward meaningful reductions will proceed at a pace necessary to have a significant impact on the phenomenon.

The basis for broad-based and deep change in sentencing and corrections practices has not yet emerged.

Published in Current Events

10:42 AM, Dec 30, 2011

NORTH CAROLINA -- More criminals convicted of misdemeanors will be housed in county jails rather than in state prisons to save money and reduce repeat offenses.

Published in Current Events
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

Pregnant George Prison inmate in shackles

By Marie Diamond on Jul 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm

This year, the Georgia legislature considered a bill that would require women to prove their miscarriages “occurred naturally” and weren’t secret abortions. In a similar vein, the Guardian reports that states including Mississippi and Alabama are charging dozens of women with murder or other serious crimes who have miscarried or had stillbirths:

Across the US more and more prosecutions are being brought that seek to turn pregnant women into criminals.

Published in Prison Legal News

BOB JOHNSON/None
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