Prison policy recommendations puts major focus on recidivism rates

Study group releases report on state prisons

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy has released its report on the state’s prison system and is making recommendations on how to address the challenges it faces.

Most of the policy recommendations surrounded reducing the recidivism rates.

There is a 30.7 percent recidivism rate for males and a 20.6 percent rate for females in the Alabama Department of Corrections. ADOC defines recidivism as an inmate who returns to the prison system within three years of release from prison.

The recommendations to reduce recidivism include providing more funding for in-custody educational programs. It would allow inmates to leave prison as productive members of society, the letter says.

The letter suggests providing inmates with educational incentives. For instance, the system would award some inmates with early release if they complete certain courses and maintain good behavior.

The study group heard hours of testimony from experts and family members throughout 2019. A common concern was that inmates did not have identification documents after being released, therefore, they could not obtain a job.

Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, said he wants the system to help inmates locate those documents before being released from prison.

“You walk out. They give you a check for $100. You get a bus ticket and you’re gone,” he said.

Ward said this increases the chances of someone returning to prison.

The specific recommendations throughout the letter are laid out in three areas: DOC operations, sentencing reforms, and recidivism reduction.

You can read all the details of the letter with the recommendations HERE.

You can read a compilation of additional details HERE.

Ward said several pieces of legislation will be drafted to resolve these issues. The legislative session begins Feb. 4.

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