The planned release of over 400 inmates is provoking multiple reactions in northern Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) — The Alabama Department of Justice plans to release 408 inmates on Tuesday.

Inmates on charges ranging from possession of marijuana to murder, whose sentences were due to end within this year, will be released under prison reform legislation under the supervision of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.

Kim Crawford, director of the Homicide Survivors Program, said this program was devastating news for victims.

“They’ve been through the whole justice system where often, even if that person has been convicted, they still don’t feel listened to or validated, and I have a feeling they’re going to feel that way again,” Crawford said. “This can’t just be a free pass for all these 360 ​​whatever people.”

Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a summary complaint alleging that ADOC failed to properly notify victims’ families under state law. According to Marshall, about 60% of the inmates who are released have committed violent crimes against individuals. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed.

The law requires inmates to be released between three and twelve months before the end of their sentence to be monitored and electronically monitored by the Board of Pardon and Paroles for the remainder of that time.

The Alabama legislature approved the measure in 2021 along with legislation authorizing the construction of new prisons.

All inmates have a housing plan approved by the post-release corrections department, according to parole officers. Cam Ward, director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, says the department is working to keep everyone safe.

“Everyone has the right to worry. The top priority is public safety and we will do everything in our power to enforce the law and maintain public safety.”

Alabama prisons face an overcrowding problem while the state grants fewer paroles. Criminal attorney John Brinkley believes this release will help put those convicted back on their feet.

“This program that they have will allow them to reintegrate into society and hopefully be better citizens when they are released,” Brinkley said.

Prisoners convicted of child sex crimes have no right to release under the law.

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