Alabama is one of America’s poorest states. We also have one of the highest incarceration rates. As a state we have prioritized prisons and punishment over prosperity.

Appleseed confronts these challenges with research, policy change campaigns, coalition building, and direct action. Our work is focused on:

Appleseed believes that Alabamians want our state to be safer and more prosperous. Our research and policy-change campaigns examine drivers of poverty and incarceration and offer evidence-based solutions for a brighter way forward.

Let’s invest in people, not prisons. Let’s fight poverty, not create it. Let’s achieve justice and equity for all Alabamians.

Good Things are Happening in Alabama

  • We stopped prison profiteer CoreCivic from expanding into Alabama. Alongside coalitions of Alabama activists, including Communities Not Prisons and Alabama Students Against Prisons, and national allies, we pressured Barclays, Keybanc Capital Markets, and Stifel to withdraw financing for a multi-billion dollar plan that would have brought two privately owned mega prisons into rural Alabama communities. All three banks dropped out, leaving the largest expansion of mass incarceration in state history in limbo.
  • Led the rapid response effort to get soap and hand sanitizer distributed to people in ADOC custody as the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. We raised more than $11,000 to purchase bulk supplies and received enough donations to provide more than half of all people in ADOC custody with free hygiene products to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Won the release of Ronald McKeithen, who was sentenced to Life Without Parole under Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act for a convenience store hold-up in Birmingham after three nonviolent property crimes in his past. The victims in his case and Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr supported his petition for release.
  • Exposed the case of Sean Worsley, a Purple Heart veteran sentenced to five years in prison for bringing his legally prescribed medical marijuana into Alabama, and assembled a coalition of veterans, lawmakers, and other advocates to successfully advocate for his parole.
  • 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).