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Deck Stacked Against People Eligible for Parole in Alabama

SPLC Releases Guidebook to Help People Going through Parole Process

Montgomery, Ala.— As the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles continues to deny parole at extremely high rates, the Southern Poverty Law Center has released a guidebook to help navigate the state’s parole process.  
The guide provides an overview of Alabama’s parole process, outlines parole guidelines, the agency and its different departments, explains mandatory release, medical parole, how parole hearings are scheduled, and what to expect at a parole hearing and afterward. The guidebook is intended as a resource and is not a substitute for legal advice.
“Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against people eligible for parole in Alabama,” said Katie Glenn, policy associate with the Southern Poverty Law Center.  
“Alabama’s parole maze is difficult to navigate even under the best of circumstances, but our state’s attitude toward parole, even for nonviolent offenses, give little hope for adjusting to life after prison,” said Glenn. “Paroles are granted at extremely low rates by an agency that politicizes its denials with weekly publicity, exacerbating the overcrowding in Alabama’s prisons.” 
A recent report from the ACLU of Alabama predicts if the parole denial rate continues as it did at the end of 2019, the prison population will increase by 3,700 this year.  In November and December in 2019, the parole board considered 200 people for release and granted only 17—less than 10 percent.  
“In this coming legislative session, Alabama must address sentences for nonviolent offenses and look at the parole system’s contribution to the crisis we have in Alabama’s prisons with extreme overcrowding and understaffing.” 
The guidebook also includes how to apply for early parole, preparing for meetings with parole officers, a halfway house guide for Alabama, tips for family members, and how to put together a resume. A digital copy of the guidebook is available here
SPLC is part of the Alabamians for Fair Justice Coalition, a coalition of individuals directly impacted by the criminal justice system and supporting organizations united to advance bold, evidence-based solutions to Alabama’s prison crisis.  
To see recommendations on parole reform from the Coalition’s recommendations, visit

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