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New SPLC Analysis: Mass Parole Denials in Alabama Amid Pandemic

Despite a dozen deaths, Alabama fails to release older, at-risk people from prison

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – Nearly 200 of the 1,100 people older than 65 in Alabama prisons are eligible for parole but have not been released despite the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) analysis published today.

In April of this year, the SPLC first identified hundreds of people incarcerated in Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) custody who are older than 65 and are therefore at an elevated risk for COVID-19 infection. In the more than five months that have passed since SPLC’s first analysis, a dozen people in this high-risk population have died as a result of the virus while others have died because of other illnesses. A total of 22 incarcerated people have died from COVID-19, according to ADOC.

Now, a new SPLC analysis of a list of the oldest incarcerated people in Alabama reveals nearly 200 of them are eligible for parole but have either had no hearing or have been denied parole.  

SPLC is among a number of advocacy organizations that for months have been calling for Alabama officials to reduce the prison population in various ways – including increased use of parole – as COVID-19 spreads through the carceral system.

Read SPLC’s latest analysis here.