Alabama sends so many people to prison that the state can no longer safely house its inmates, consequences of a tough-on-crime mentality among politicians and the public that keeps aggressive sentencing laws on the books. The end result: The Department of Justice concluded that the constitutional rights of prisoners were being violated every day, in every men’s prison the state runs.
“You build more prisons, you fill them,” said Carla Crowder, executive director of Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, a legal nonprofit. “Alabama is too poor to properly staff, manage and run a prison system of the size that’s been created by our laws. We just don’t have enough money to lock up everybody we want to lock up and follow the Constitution. The last 50 years of human rights failures and expensive litigation has only reinforced this fact.”
Caroline Beck | 11/10/2021
The Alabama Commission on Reentry heard presentations on Tuesday about the need for expanding housing assistance for those leaving prison as a way to reduce recidivism.
Carla Crowder, the executive director for Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, presented her findings to the commission on what reentry housing is already available in the state and how it can be improved.
She said housing is one of the biggest factors of whether or not a person is sent back to prison.
Madison Pauly |10/9/2021
After years of searching for a way to finance a massive prison-building scheme, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has found her cash cow: Federal coronavirus aid.
“We had really harsh sentencing laws, one of the worst three-strikes laws in the country, laws that permitted long prison sentences for drug possession, really aggressive prosecutors,” says Carla Crowder, executive director of the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. “So the prison population just was growing, growing, growing.” The state built new prisons in the ’80s and ’90s but never allocated enough money to take care of them, Crowder says. Meanwhile, the mass incarceration machine sucked in more and more Alabamans.