A Senate budget committee approved a prison construction bill Wednesday. The bill would close 14 state prisons and build four large regional facilities. Senator Cam Ward was among the bill’s supporters, citing prison overcrowding issues. “Everyone says well you can’t build — and I’ve said this before — you can’t build your way out of the […]
Governor Robert Bentley is praising a settlement between the state and the U.S. Justice Department over conditions at Alabama's only prison for women. Bentley says the agreement announced Thursday is a "positive step forward" for the corrections agency.
Alabama's prison reform bill was approved today by a 31-2 vote in the Alabama Senate. The bill contains major changes to the state’s sentencing and probation rules with the goal of reducing prison over-crowding. Alabama's prisons are currently at almost 200 percent capacity. The bill was crafted by the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force with the help of The Council of State Governments, a nonprofit that works with policymakers across the country. WBHM’s Rachel Osier Lindley spoke with Andy Barbee, research manager with The Council of State Governments about some of the most important policy changes in the Alabama Justice Reinvestment Act and how Alabama’s challenges rank nationally.
The 2015 Alabama legislative session kicks off on Tuesday. From prisons to the state's budget deficit to education, this year's session will be full of important -- and even controversial -- issues. Here to give us a preview of what to expect is Don Dailey, host of Alabama Public Television's Capital Journal.
Alabama's overcrowded prison system has been under close scrutiny since the Justice Department started investigating it last year. If big changes aren't made during the upcoming legislative session, the state risks a federal takeover. Alabama's Prison Reform Task Force is working to draft legislation to improve the prison system. State Senator Cam Ward of Alabaster is the task force's chairman. Ward sat down with WBHM's Rachel Osier Lindley to talk about the proposed legislation, and who has been involved in the process.
Few people normally go to Donaldson Correctional Facility, a state prison in far western Jefferson County. But twice a month UAB faculty travel to this maximum security prison to lecture to inmates. It's been happening for almost three decades. Reporter Ashley Cleek sits in on a class.
The United States locks up people at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world. Some of the most overcrowded prisons are right here in Alabama. Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women is one of them. But some inmates there have access to a unique state-funded program that offers academics and "life skills" they'll need after release. The problem is, this J.F. Ingram State Technical College program, which could ease overcrowding, is struggling for funds. WBHM's Dan Carsen has the story and a full-length interview with J.F. Ingram's president.
Alabama's J.F. Ingram State may be the nation's only state-run two-year college exclusively for inmates. Its mission is to reduce recidivism by offering "three legs of the stool": academics, life skills, and vocational training. WBHM's Dan Carsen recently visited Ingram's Deatsville campus, where he met Timothy Brown, a 53-year-old convicted robber and burglar serving a life sentence but hoping for parole. Brown had walked over from the Frank Lee minimum-security facility next door. He'd been passing around organic cantaloupe and filling in for his horticulture teacher. Dan starts the interview by asking Brown if doing the latter makes him nervous.
Today on Morning Edition, NPR's Steve Inskeep talks with Alabama State Sentator Cam Ward and attorney Maria Morris of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The theme of the story - working across political lines to reduce overcrowding and other critical issues in Alabama's Prisons.
When a loved one is incarcerated, it can have a profound impact on their family members on the outside. These families are lifelines to the inmate. From sending money to traveling long distances to visit the inmates, it's work to provide that kind of financial and emotional care. We explore those challenges as part of WBHM's continued coverage of Alabama's prison system. WBHM's Sarah Delia has the story of one mother who has made countless sacrifices to keep her family afloat in order to support her incarcerated son.
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