Entries by Carla Crowder

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Incarcerated people learn from their mistakes. The government that locks them up has not.

By Carla Crowder,  Alabama Appleseed Executive Director Antonio was incarcerated at St. Clair prison a few years ago when another prisoner bit off part of his ear. They were housed in a dorm that supposedly offered rehabilitative services. For Antonio, permanent disfigurement was the outcome.   He did not seek revenge against the man who bit […]

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How a couple lost everything because of $50 worth of marijuana, a Lunesta pill, and an overzealous drug task force armed with the power to seize their assets

By Leah Nelson, Appleseed Researcher WOODLAND, Ala. (March 30, 2019) Teresa Almond is terrified. Though more than 13 months have passed since the day the Randolph County Drug Task Force upended her life with a flashbang grenade and a raid on her home, the 49-year-old grandmother still spends at least part of most days sitting […]

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What last week’s SCOTUS ruling on excessive fines and fees could mean for Alabama

Across Alabama, residents lose their jobs, housing, drivers’ licenses, and spend long stretches in jail because they cannot afford to pay court fines and fees. This week, a unanimous United States Supreme Court reminded states that this is not supposed to happen anywhere in America. The case, Timbs v. Indiana, concerns the questionable practice of civil […]

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Alabama’s Marijuana Laws are Costly to Enforce, Undermine Public Safety and Disproportionately Harm African Americans

Marijuana prohibition costs the state and its municipalities an estimated $22 million a year, creates a dangerous backlog at the agency that tests forensic evidence in violent crimes, and needlessly ensnares thousands of people – disproportionately African Americans – in the criminal justice system, according to a report released today by Alabama Appleseed Center for […]

Groups Call for Investigation Into Potential Violations of Federal Law by Alabama Sheriffs with Federal Detention Contracts who Convert Jail Food Funds to Personal Use

In a letter sent yesterday to the United States Attorneys for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama, the Southern Center for Human Rights, Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Adelante Alabama Worker Center, the American Conservative Union, and FreedomWorks urged an investigation into Alabama sheriffs with federal detention contracts who have personally […]

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Pro Bono Month: Standing Up for Greater Access to Justice

October marks Pro Bono Month, in which Alabama celebrates the difference made by pro bono lawyers throughout the state who serve our communities by providing free civil legal aid to those in need. These volunteer lawyers–along with lawyers from Legal Services Alabama and clinics–help level the playing field and expand access to justice for low-income […]

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New Report: Fines and Fees Hurt People, Drive Alabama’s Racial Wealth Divide, and Make Alabamians Less Safe

A new report finds that many Alabamians report sacrificing food, medicine, and other basic necessities — and in some cases, resorting to crime — to pay down unnecessarily burdensome court costs, fines, and fees. More than eight in ten Alabamians gave up necessities like food and medicine to pay down court costs, fines, fees, or restitution. Nearly four in ten committed […]

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Alabama Appleseed Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court Case Arguing the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause Should Rein In Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuses

On Tuesday, Alabama Appleseed joined a diverse set of twelve organizations asking the U.S. Supreme Court to find that the Eighth Amendment’s excessive fines clause applies to the states. The case is Timbs v. Indiana. Mr. Timbs was arrested during an undercover drug enforcement operation, pled guilty, paid approximately $1,200 in fees, and was sentenced […]