Alabama Sheriffs Association Reacts to Inmate Release

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 6:38 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Some of Alabama’s prison inmates are no longer behind bars and enjoying life on the outside. In all, about 400 inmates are set to be released early. The process started this week with 80 releases so far. The inmate release stems from a bill passed by the state legislature in 2021 on prison reform.

The Alabama Sheriffs Association is reacting to the inmate release. The association says it had no input in the decision.

“It’s very disconcerting,” said Jimmy Lambert, Executive Director of the Alabama Sheriffs Association.

Jimmy Lambert says one of the big concerns over the mass release of inmates was the lack of communication.

“Our sheriffs had not been given the opportunity to give any input, and nor were the D.A’s to my understanding,” said Lambert.

Lambert is also alarmed about what he fears could be a rise in crime with the release of this many inmates at once.

“I was just on the phone with one of us, yours a few minutes ago, who was looking at the list, and one of the people that was being released, from my understanding, was a murderer that had no business being back on the street,” said Lambert.

“We as administrators who have to enforce the laws were told to enforce,” said Cam Ward, Director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.

Cam Ward, Director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, says the inmates are released with an electronic monitoring device.

This mandatory supervised release covers inmates with less than a year left on their sentence. And the state says it allows probation officers to monitor offenders who would otherwise leave prison without supervision.

“We supervise you once you’re released. We’re going to follow what the judge told us,” said Ward.

Lambert fears law enforcement will come face to face with these criminals again soon. He calls it defeating when law enforcement continues to arrest the same offenders over and over.

“We see it time, and again, you let them out early, and they commit the crimes all over again. And we’re picking right back up within a few weeks,” said Lambert.

Lambert says sheriffs and district attorneys across the state hope to work with lawmakers to update the law that led to the release of the inmates.

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