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SPLC Statement on AL Legislature Passage of Parole Board Reforms in HB 380

Lawmakers ignored U.S. Department of Justice findings and will increase prison overcrowding

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The following statement about the passage of HB 380 in the Alabama Legislature today is by Ebony Howard, senior supervising attorney for SPLC Action Fund: 
"Today’s passage of HB 380 unnecessarily politicizes the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP). It will increase overcrowding in prisons with no corresponding increase in public safety for the state. In passing HB 380, Alabama’s leaders in the Senate are making policy based on emotions and fear, rather than data and facts. They are ignoring the conclusions of the U.S. Department of Justice’s horrifying report issued in April, the very first substantive section of which is entitled 'ADOC’s Overcrowding Contributes to Serious Harm to Prisoners.'
"HB380, if signed into law by the governor, will exacerbate the overcrowding problem. Limiting parole limits one of the most effective pathways to reducing overcrowding and the violence faced by ADOC staff and incarcerated people. Alabama lawmakers' actions go against the DOJ's recommendations – one of which was to consider how to safely realign significantly more people in men’s prisons back into local oversight.
"SPLC’s own investigation into ADOC data shows that the parole system is generally working – with incarcerated people who pose little threat to public safety being reunited with their families and communities. When people do end up back in ADOC custody, it is most often for non-violent offenses like drug possession or for offenses with no personal injury element.
"HB 380 will punish otherwise rehabilitated people for a system failure they had no control over, and condemn them to even more time in Alabama’s dangerous and unconstitutional prisons.
"Governor Ivey should read the DOJ report once more, review available data on parole, recognize HB 380’s faults, and veto the bill."