Crime

Gulf South states among U.S. leaders for juvenile life without parole sentences, study shows

A youth sentencing study shows Alabama and Mississippi are among just four states that top the nation in new juvenile life without parole sentences since 2012.

Q&A: A former New Orleans police chief says it’s time the U.S. changes its marijuana policy

Ronal Serpas is one of 32 law enforcement leaders who signed a letter sent to President Biden in support of moving marijuana to a Schedule III drug.

‘Living in fear’: Small-town Mississippi residents are skeptical of DOJ’s police investigation

The "pattern or practice" investigation into the Lexington Police Department stems from allegations of excessive force, racist roadblocks and more.

New Alabama law aims to improve police interactions with people with disabilities

Some advocates said the law’s requirement of an hour-long training on working with people with “invisible” disabilities and sensory needs is a good start.

Ahead of Kenneth Smith’s execution, people impacted by Alabama’s death penalty speak out

Death penalty opponents gathered in Birmingham Wednesday to condemn Smith’s execution and hear personal stories about the impact of death row.

New Orleans residents are uneasy about the NOPD’s planned drone program, documents show

The Gulf States Newsroom obtained more than 350 pages of public comments concerning the NOPD’s planned drone program. Here’s what they said.

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Alabama’s prison population sees troubling growth in latest DOJ report

For the first time in nearly a decade, U.S. prison populations are trending up. Alabama's numbers are a part of troubling gains across the Gulf South.

Hoover woman returns home following disappearance and search after reporting child on interstate

Police said Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell had returned to the home she shares with her parents in Hoover. Russell was the after being the focus of a two-day search by police and family members who reported her missing after she stopped to check on a child who was walking along a highway.

How hard is life after prison? This simulation in Birmingham offers a taste

Across the country, U.S. justice officials are hosting simulated experiences to highlight the barriers many people face after leaving prison.

Birmingham officials launch violence intervention program at UAB hospital

The initiative connects gunshot survivors with resources to try to stop the cycle of violence.

Police make 6th arrest in Alabama Sweet 16 party shooting

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency on Thursday night announced the arrest of a 15-year-old juvenile from Tuskegee, Alabama, the sixth person charged in the case, but court records were not released because of the person's age.

5th arrest made in Alabama Sweet 16 birthday party shooting

Willie George Brown Jr., 19, of Auburn, is charged with four counts of reckless murder, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said.

WATCH: A conversation on the experiences of Cameroonians in immigration detention with the Gulf States Newsroom

Watch a replay of the Gulf States Newsroom's virtual listening session for Bobbi-Jeanne Misick's series on the experiences of Cameroonian asylum seekers.

3 charged with murder in Sweet 16 party shooting in Alabama

Two teenagers and a 20-year-old man have been arrested and charged with reckless murder in connection with a shooting that killed four young people at a Sweet Sixteen birthday party in rural Alabama.

Alabama police arrest 2 teens for birthday party shooting

An Alabama Law Enforcement Agency spokesman wouldn’t say where the two are being jailed, or whether they already were in custody when they were charged in the case.

Alabama birthday girl begged dying brother to ‘stay with me’

Alexis Dowdell’s Sweet 16 birthday party ended with her kneeling beside her fatally wounded brother on the blood-slicked floor of a dance studio in small-town Alabama, the bodies of other wounded teens scattered around them. Dowdell told the story of Saturday’s terror in Dadeville to The Associated Press.

Alabama police searching for clues in shooting that killed 4

Students at a small-town Alabama school, its flag flying at half-mast Monday, returned to class as investigators worked to piece together what happened at a Saturday night shooting that killed four people, including two Dadeville High School students.

Shooting at Alabama birthday party kills 4 people, wounds 28

Alabama law enforcement officers Sunday implored people to come forward with information about a shooting in Dadeville that killed four people and injured 28 others during a teenager's birthday party. Among those killed was a high school senior who planned to play college football and was celebrating sister's 16th birthday.

The imbalanced scales of immigration justice: A listening session and conversation

The Gulf States Newsroom and Type Investigations will host a listening session and conversation on Bobbi-Jeanne Misick’s three-part audio series.

New complaint alleges sex assault, medical neglect, abuse of detainee at Louisiana ICE facility

The attorneys and advocates who filed the complaint on Daniel Cortes De La Valle’s behalf are asking ICE to release him immediately.

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Man sentenced to 30 years after police officer shot friend

Alabama’s felony murder law holds someone liable for murder if they participate in a felony that results in someone's death.

Lawmakers say prison plan will continue despite cost jump

The Alabama Corrections Institution Finance Authority on Wednesday increased the spending cap for a 4,000-bed prison now under construction in Elmore County, from $623 million to $975 million.

New exhibition driving bill would stiffen penalties, including fines and jail time

People have been injured, even killed, in exhibition driving-related incidents in Birmingham. Now, lawmakers are addressing the issue on a statewide level.

After deadliest year on record, families remember loved ones lost in Alabama prisons

Two hundred sixty-six incarcerated people died inside Alabama's prisons in 2022, and dozens have died so far in 2023.

WBRC’s new podcast explores the disappearance of Kamille ‘Cupcake’ McKinney

The 3-year-old went missing in 2019 outside a public housing complex in Birmingham. Her body was found about a week later in a dumpster. 

A small team works to aid immigrants in Louisiana: ‘Do the best you can with the time you have’

Three women detail the grueling, personal work behind regular visits to Louisiana’s detention centers to help immigrants make it through the asylum process.

Alabama has 5th highest U.S. gun death rate. A study blames weak laws, high ownership

The Violence Policy Center, a non-profit educational organization, used the most recent CDC data on gun death rates in the U.S. for its analysis.

Alabama prison chief says lack of staffing remains top issue

Commissioner John Hamm said the department is looking to a combination of outsourcing, pay raises and benefit changes to increase the number of workers.

‘Injustice, Inc.’ uncovers how some in the legal system use poor families to get rich

Daniel L. Hatcher discusses his book, which looks at how state agencies exploit impoverished families to make money through the U.S. juvenile justice system.

Alabama ‘close’ to finishing nitrogen execution protocol

Alabama has authorized the use of nitrogen hypoxia, but it has never been used to carry out a death sentence.

‘Unreformed’ podcast tells the largely untold story of an abusive Alabama reform school

A conversation with journalist and podcast host Josie Duffy Rice details the troubled history of the Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children, or Mt. Meigs.

400 Alabama inmates to be released early under 2021 law

The sentencing law sends prisoners to supervised release several months before their sentences are set to end.