Percentage of inmates granted parole in Alabama continues to shrink

WAFF's D'Quan Lee reporting
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 7:08 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2023 at 10:35 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Parole denials in Alabama have increased drastically with the most denied in 2022. Out of 4,002 inmates that applied for parole only 409 of the inmates were granted.

Jerome Dees with the Southern Poverty Law Center says in 2017 the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles created guidelines for who should be eligible for parole. However, he says recent parole rates have not reflected those guidelines.

“There were a total of roughly 1,200 total inmates that applied for parole,” he started. “Based upon those guidelines, there are about 800 people that were recommended to be granted their application. Out of those 793 recommended individuals, only 89 individuals were actually granted parole.”

Dees added these parole denials were a reaction from legislators trying to address perceived increases in crime rates, which has directly resulted in overcrowding in state prisons.

He says the inmates the Alabama Department of Corrections are releasing this week are people who have served nearly all of their sentence and were likely denied parole previously.

“The state passed an amendment to an even older law stating that individuals who are scheduled to [End of Sentence] to within the year, legislature decided ‘why don’t we release them within 10 to 12 months prior to what their EOS date would be, with monitoring, with supervision. Whether that’s ankle monitoring, having to check in with officers at some regulated time.”

Dees says both inmates and the public would benefit from knowing what factors into the parole board’s decision to grant or deny an applicant’s parole.

WAFF 48 has reached out to the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Parole about their parole denial rates but has not heard back.

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