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Blog

Targeted releases should be part of Alabama corrections system’s response to COVID-19 pandemic

State and local governments are responding in a variety of ways to the emergent coronavirus pandemic in Alabama. But that response thus far has fallen short where incarcerated people are concerned. The Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC) has more than 27,500 people in custody right now. (For context, that’s more people than live in Anniston, [...]
Issues
Criminal Justice, Health
Date
March 24, 2020
Author
Dev Wakeley
Blog

How Alabama can reform its criminal justice system to work for everyone

Alabamians deserve a justice system that sentences fairly, provides helpful rehabilitative services and keeps people safe during incarceration. But Alabama often falls catastrophically short of fulfilling those obligations. Our state’s prisons are violent and poorly staffed. As a result, they often function as little more than warehouses to keep people locked up until their sentences [...]
Issues
Criminal Justice, Health
Date
February 4, 2020
Author
Dev Wakeley
Blog

Arise 2020: Our vision for a better Alabama

Alabama Arise members have worked for more than three decades to build a brighter, more inclusive future for our state. And as the Legislature’s 2020 regular session starts Tuesday, we’re proud to renew that commitment. Below, Arise executive director Robyn Hyden highlights some key goals for the session, including Medicaid expansion and untaxing groceries. How [...]
Issues
Budgets, Criminal Justice, Health, Housing, Payday & Title Lending Reform, Public Transportation, Safety Net, Tax Reform, Voting Rights
Date
February 4, 2020
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

The new poll tax: Court debt and voting rights in Alabama

Everyone should be able to have a voice in governmental decisions that affect their daily lives. Voting is the most straightforward way Alabamians have to shape those decisions. But our state has a long, sad legacy of voter suppression tactics. As a result, Alabama today has more disenfranchised citizens than California, a state with eight [...]
Issues
Criminal Justice, Voting Rights
Date
January 15, 2020
Author
Dev Wakeley
Blog

Arise 2020: Stop criminal justice debt from putting thousands of lives on hold

Criminal justice debt shouldn’t prevent a person from building a stable, secure life. But Alabama imposes millions of dollars in fines every year without considering a person’s ability to pay them. The state also conditions many rights and privileges, often including voting rights restoration, on whether a person has repaid fines. Further, despite a prohibition [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
January 10, 2020
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Criminal justice debt: A modern-day debtors’ prison

By Carol Gundlach and Dev Wakeley, policy analysts It is unconstitutional to jail a person in the United States just because he or she owes money. But Alabama has no process for courts to determine if a defendant can afford to pay fees and fines. And despite a prohibition on “debtors’ prisons,” thousands of Alabamians [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
January 10, 2020
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Arise 2020: End the injustices in Alabama’s death penalty system

All Alabamians deserve equal justice under the law. But bias and inequality persist in Alabama’s capital punishment system, despite recent reforms. Even though the state finally outlawed judicial override in 2017, the ban did not apply retroactively. That means dozens of people who were sentenced to death despite a jury’s sentencing recommendation of life without [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
January 9, 2020
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Injustices remain in Alabama’s death penalty practices

Alabama took an important step toward death penalty reform in 2017, but numerous problems remain. That year, the state finally outlawed judicial override in capital cases. That change means judges no longer can impose the death penalty when a jury recommends life without parole. But the ban was not retroactive, and 35 people who were [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
January 9, 2020
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Why Medicaid expansion is a must for prison reform in Alabama

Against a backdrop of human tragedy, Gov. Kay Ivey’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy is working toward a January deadline for its recommendations to the Legislature. The U.S. Department of Justice in April issued a sobering overview of the Alabama corrections system’s numerous shortcomings. And the Montgomery Advertiser shed further light on the situation [...]
Issues
Criminal Justice, Health
Date
November 26, 2019
Author
Jim Carnes
Blog

Criminal justice study group offers Alabama a chance to set the right course toward reform

Alabama needs a criminal justice system that values the lives and well-being of everyone involved. Our state should treat people fairly, apply punishment humanely and focus on restoring offenders to productive roles in society. Alabama Arise is closely monitoring the Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy that Gov. Kay Ivey appointed in July. Former Alabama [...]
Issues
Criminal Justice, Health
Date
September 12, 2019
Author
Dev Wakeley