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:

Economic injustice and the criminalization of poverty

Mass incarceration and Alabama’s chronically unconstitutional prisons

Racial injustice and systemic racism in laws and policies

Unaccountable government and policing for profit

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

  • 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).

The Latest

Appleseed's Legislative Priorities 2021

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By Alabama Appleseed Staff The 2021 Alabama Regular Session will begin on February 2, 2021. Below is a summary of key human rights and criminal justice issues we anticipate will be under active, serious deliberation by the legislature…

“I'm experiencing a rebirth, a second chance at life, and every day has been a blessing.”

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By Ronald McKeithen, Appleseed guest blogger Birmingham, AL -- Doubts of ever leaving prison had been embedded deep within me. I couldn't shake them. At least not completely. Even after everything that I'd prayed for and dreamed of for decades…

A New Job. A Christmas Party. His First-Ever Week of Paid Leave. Alvin Kennard, Once Sentenced to Die in Prison, Marks His First Year of Freedom.

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By Carla Crowder, Executive Director One year ago, Alvin Kennard stood in a Bessemer courtroom nervous and uncertain. Striped jailhouse scrubs swallowed his rail-thin, shivering frame. After 36 years…

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Contact Us

Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice
400 South Union Street, Suite 245
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Phone: (334) 416-8401

2130 Highland Avenue South, Suite 202
Birmingham, AL 35205
Phone: (205) 305-0735