Current Campaigns

To improve public safety, Alabama must rethink its approach to criminal justice. Alabama has one of the highest incarceration rates 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 and stop the drivers of incarceration.  We are challenging the Governor’s plan to build 3 new mega prisons at a cost of $2.6 billion because this approach perpetuates past failures, does not address racial disparities, and swallows precious state resources that could be invested in mental health care, drug treatment, education, and re-entry services.

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

Tuscaloosa's "Operation Safe Streets" Makes Tuscaloosa More Dangerous for Some

, , , , ,
By Leah Nelson, Appleseed Research Director As Alabama struggles to contain Covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus that has gripped the world’s attention since January, law enforcement officials and judges across the state…

A 71-year old man finally walks free, after marijuana sent him away

, , , ,
By Carla Crowder, Appleseed Executive Director Birmingham, Ala. -- A little more justice slowly made its way into Alabama this week. Roberto Cruz, a 71-year-old man who had been sentenced to die in prison for a case involving marijuana…

“People are dying. They had us in there for tickets.”

, , , ,
By Leah Nelson, Appleseed Research Director MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- When police pulled Reunca Lewis over near downtown Montgomery on April 17, the 23-year-old Montgomery resident was baffled. Lewis’s car had been stolen and then involved in…

Fines, Fees, and Financial Security in the US South

, ,
The following report is part of Appleseed’s collaboration with the Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program and also appears on the Aspen Institute blog. For many individuals and households, a $200 traffic ticket can devastate savings…

Take Action


Follow on Twitter


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