As many as 200 inmates in Alabama, some with violent criminal histories, may be released from prison Friday under a state law requiring that offenders be placed under supervision instead of serving out their full sentence behind bars.
As Law&Crime previously reported, an amendment to a 2021 sentencing law now requires all inmates to be released ahead of the end date of their prison sentence. That provision took effect on Tuesday. All inmates who are released will be subject to electronic location monitoring and other parole conditions.
The Alabama Department of Corrections said in a statement Thursday that 134 inmates have already been released from custody.
“Approximately 170-200 will be released Friday, February 3, 2023,” the statement said. “However, no inmate has been or will be released without victim notification. As victim notifications are made, those inmates are added to the list to be released.”
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall had sued the state’s Board of Pardon and Paroles over the alleged failure to notify the families of victims about the rolling releases.
The ADOC said that some inmates who qualify for release “have detainers/pending charges from other law enforcement agencies and they will be transferred to those agencies.”
The rest will be processed by the parole division, fitted with an ankle monitor, and released.
“They are then picked up at the facility by friends or family or taken to local bus stations to be returned to their county of conviction,” the statement says. “The ADOC purchases one-way, non-refundable, non-transferrable bus tickets.”
Under the amendment, most inmates serving time would be required to complete their sentences under a period of supervised release, as opposed to leaving prison unsupervised once their time was up. Prior to the 2021 amendment, that law applied only to people convicted after the law was passed in 2015. The intent was reportedly to help the former inmates adjust to the end of their incarceration. The law was passed with bipartisan support, with state GOP legislators arguing that supervision under the ABPP would reduce the likelihood of recidivism.
Under the law, inmates sentenced to five years or less are to be released between three and five months ahead of their release date. Those serving sentences from five to 10 years must be released between six and nine months before the final date, and those serving sentences of 10 years or more can be released between 12 and 24 months prior to their end date.
People convicted of a sex offense involving a child under the age of 12 are not eligible for early release, and neither are offenders serving a life sentence.
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