Current Campaigns

To improve public safety, Alabama must rethink its approach to criminal justice. Alabama has the fifth highest incarceration rate in the United States, yet also one of America’s highest crime rates. We must recognize that incarceration is a costly, inhumane, and often ineffective solution to making our communities safer.  Alabama must invest in evidence-based alternatives to prison, not rely on the failed policies of the past to address the human rights crisis in our prisons.

Fair schools will remain out of reach until Alabama has dismantled its school-to-prison pipeline. The school-to-prison pipeline is shorthand for a misguided and counterproductive system that pushes children out of public schools and seriously increases the likelihood that they will end up in the juvenile and adult justice systems.

Equal justice under law requires a justice system that provides a level playing field, regardless of one’s ability to pay. In order to achieve this, the state must ensure access to civil legal services, and protect the fundamental right to counsel in criminal court.

For many Alabamians, simple legal issues can spiral into dire situations because they cannot afford attorneys. Civil legal aid seeks to help low-income individuals and families address their legal issues before they get worse. Access to legal services protects families and communities and reduces the burden placed on the court system. Civil legal aid better ensures the we have justice for all, not just those who can afford it.

About Alabama Appleseed

Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1999 whose mission is to work to achieve justice and equity for all Alabamians. Alabama Appleseed is a member of the national Appleseed Network, which includes 18 Appleseed Centers across the U.S. and in Mexico City. Alabama Appleseed is also a member of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law’s Legal Impact Network, a collaborative of 36 advocacy organizations from across the country working with communities to end poverty and achieve racial justice at the federal, state, and local levels.

Our Approach to Advocacy

We recognize the interconnected nature of rights and develop and implement integrated culture and policy change campaigns that remedy the root causes of injustice. Our campaigns use policy analysis, research and documentation, public education, community organizing, pro bono engagement, coalition building, and litigation.

Recent Victories

  • Won the release of Alvin Kennard, who had been sentenced to Life Without Parole under Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act for a $50 robbery at a bakery based on three minor prior offenses.  Mr. Kennard was re-sentenced to time served and went home to his family in Bessemer.
  • Led effort (with The Southern Center for Human Rights) to end the decades-long practice of Alabama sheriffs personally pocketing jail food funds by underfeeding people in their custody. Through investigation and litigation, we determined multiple sheriffs profited more than $1 million combined, leading to the passage of SB228 in the 2019 legislative session which requires taxpayer dollars allocated for feeding incarcerated people to be spent on jail food.
  • Fought for passage of the Alabama Forfeiture Information Reporting Act, which requires detailed, mandatory reporting by law enforcement of all property seized through civil asset forfeiture and establishes a mandatory, public database of private property seizures by the state; overcame resistance by law enforcement who had promoted a voluntary database.
  • In 2019 legislative session, helped secure passage of SB30 which increases access to justice for low-wealth Alabamians. This bill ensures that backlogs in the court system to approve applications for filing fee waivers through affidavits of substantial hardship do not prevent low-income people from having their cases heard in court.
  • Led effort (with the Southern Poverty Law Center) to remove the power of a judge to override a jury’s sentencing verdict in capital cases (judges had often imposed death sentences against the will of the jury).
  • Led effort to increase tax exemptions for personal property and homestead, permitting adjustment for inflation every three years.
  • Appointed to the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force, which developed sweeping reforms to reduce Alabama’s prison population and revise Alabama’s sentencing laws. Helped lead effort to pass many of the recommended reforms.
  • Led effort to pass the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, which provides greater protections to heir property owners.
  • Initiated model school breakfast in the classroom programs in 10 public schools aimed at significantly increasing student learning, behavior, and health in low-wealth communities.
  • Served as a party plaintiff in the successful federal court challenge to HB 56, Alabama’s unconstitutional anti-immigrant law.
  • Helped to secure $4.8 million in grants from BP Oil to fund legal representation of indigent claimants by legal services organizations in AL, FL, MS, and LA.

News and Media

In Alabama, prison diversion programs are funded by participants. And those payments are made at a terrible cost.

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On Dec. 4, 2019, the Governor's Study Group on Criminal Justice Reform convened at the Alabama Statehouse to hear proposals from the public on how to address Alabama's prison crisis. Appleseed Research Director Leah Nelson was among the 20 presenters,…

Thank you, Appleseed Supporters, for Fighting for a Better Alabama in 2019

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By Appleseed Executive Director Carla Crowder As I wrap up a whirlwind first year as executive director of Alabama Appleseed, I could not be more excited about the work we have done and the places we are heading. This has been a banner year…

Alvin Kennard is home. Let’s create a path for others to follow.

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By Carla Crowder, Appleseed Executive Director BESSEMER -- Alvin Kennard is a free man, home surrounded by family and friends after 36 years in an Alabama prison for a $50 robbery in 1983. He couldn’t stop smiling and thanking God for…

Incarcerating people as cheaply as possible created Alabama’s unconstitutional prisons. Let’s not make the same mistake again

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By Carla Crowder, Executive Director A few weeks ago, a search dog working for Alabama’s Department of Corrections sadly died after exposure to contraband narcotics.  ADOC leadership, including Commissioner Jefferson Dunn, gathered for…

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About Us

Get Involved

We have many opportunities that you can assist us with by volunteering your time and talent. As a non-profit organization with a small staff, we welcome the involvement of others with us so that together we can make a difference.

Together we can create a better Alabama!

Contact Us

The Appleseed offices are located in historic Old Alabama Town section of downtown Montgomery.

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 4864
Montgomery, AL 36103-4864

Physical Address

309 N. Hull Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
Phone: (334) 263-0086
Fax: (334) 263-0270