A Daily Signal article takes a look at criminal justice reform in Alabama, a state with severe overcrowding problems.
“Criminal justice reform in Alabama is incredibly complex,” says Bennet Wright, executive director of the Alabama Sentencing Commission, an agency created by the legislature in 2000 to study sentencing policies with an eye toward reducing the prison population.
“If you want to move the needle on criminal justice reform in Alabama, you have to touch a variety of policy areas, and at the same time you have to be cognizant that it touches all three branches of government,” Wright says, adding:
You can’t just change sentencing to change the whole system. At the actual sentencing phase, that’s a judicial function. However, you have an executive branch function in the parole board that can make the decision whether to actually let the inmate out. This reform bill is the first attempt to wrap its hand around the entire criminal justice problem.
Further in the article:
“It’s not about changing this or that—it’s changing everything you do once somebody comes in the system,” Wright says:
Blount County would do well to follow the advice of the criminal justice system assessment (jail study) that it paid for and begin working on the things that it can address locally. Instead only 8 of the 21 commissioners even wanted to hear from the consultant on the matter.