New law means hundreds of Alabama prisoners getting early release
By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Savannah Denton
Alabama’s early release of inmates continued Wednesday after the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles announced this week that almost 400 inmates nearing the end of their sentences can leave prison early because of a new sentencing law effective Jan. 31.
Under the law, anyone sentenced to five years or less in prison could be released between three and five months early. Anyone sentenced to between five and 10 years could be released between six and eight months early. Anyone sentenced to more than 10 years in prison could be released between 10 months and a year early.
On Tuesday, about 80 inmates in Alabama prisons were let out with the clothes they walked in with and a provided bus ticket. Their offenses ranged from marijuana possession and burglary to robbery or murder.
Alabama Department of Corrections officials said any inmate released early will be fit with an ankle monitor and will be supervised by the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.
Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles Director Cam Ward said these inmates were set to be released within the next 10 months, and they’re getting additional supervision as they return to their lives.
Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hays Webb said early release is beneficial for the inmates, the Department of Corrections and the state as a whole.
“The big picture goal here is that they have a period of supervision once they are released from prison to help them acclimate back into the community and make them much less likely, we hope, to not re-offend,” said Webb.
For convicted felons, finding work after prison is difficult. That’s why Webb’s office has been hosting job fairs aimed at helping them find new jobs or new careers.