Alabama officials are taking what some are calling "drastic actions" in the state's bid to relieve prison overcrowding.
Many inmates are getting holiday gifts in the form of early paroles - leaving some law and order advocates protesting the state's efforts.
First up for early paroles are so-called "non-violent" criminals who are nearing the end of their prison sentences.
But protestors point out that the broad definitions of "non-violent" criminals could prevent thousands of others from being placed on the release lists.
A 1983 change in Alabama’s laws concerning murder and rape crimes could allow some violent offenders out of jail as well.
Alabama’s parole board is aware of the loophole and is expected to propose new legislation next session that would speed up the weeding out process.