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Justice Reinvestment in Alabama: Analysis and Policy Framework

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2015
32 pages
After describing the crisis in Alabama's correctional system, this report presents the analysis and framework for "justice reinvestment" in the State, with technical assistance from the Justice Center of the Council of State Governments and funding from the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
Alabama's correctional system is overcrowded. A total of 79,612 people convicted of felonies who are under correctional control are primarily supervised in the State's probation and parole system, where caseloads are unmanageable. The State's incarceration rate is the Nation's fourth highest; as of September 2014, the prisons - the most crowded in the country - were operating at 195 percent capacity. Between FY 2009 and FY 2013, General Fund expenditures for the State's Department of Corrections remained static at $372million. In an effort to address this crisis, State leaders requested support from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance in exploring a "justice reinvestment" approach to reduce corrections spending while reinvesting in strategies to reduce recidivism and improve public safety. The Justice Center of the Council of State Governments provided the technical assistance for this effort. The first challenge identified was insufficient community-based supervision and treatment resources. The second challenge identified was overcrowded prisons. The third challenge was unsupervised releases from prison. For each of these challenges identified through data analysis, strategies have been developed to address it. As a complete package, the strategies proposed, if implemented, have the potential to avert significant costs, reduce recidivism, reduce the average probation caseloads by half, and reduce prison overcrowding from 195 percent to 162 percent of capacity between FY 2016 and FY 2021. 14 figures and 89 notes

Date Published: March 1, 2015