The Alabama Legislature’s first special session of 2021 just began, and things are already moving quickly. The House Judiciary Committee has already voted in favor of two bills to make desperately needed improvements to the state’s criminal justice system, and those bills now move to the full House for a vote.
Your legislator needs to hear from you. Please urge your representative to vote YES on these needed criminal justice reforms.
Rep. Jim Hill, R-Moody is sponsoring two bills included in Gov. Kay Ivey’s special session call, HB 1 and HB 2. These bills would implement changes endorsed two years ago by Ivey’s study group on criminal justice policy.
HB 1 would help fix inconsistency in sentencing under the state’s broken Habitual Felony Offender Act (HFOA). This bill would allow people to file resentencing motions for offenses no longer covered under the act. That change would give as many as 700 people an opportunity to return to their communities to rebuild their lives. The state would also save more than $12 million per year if all eligible people are released under this reform.
HB 2, which would provide supervised release for every person leaving Alabama prisons, is also in position for a full House vote. People who undergo a period of supervised release have a lower likelihood of returning to prison than people who don’t. Ensuring that no one leaves prison without a reasonable period of supervised release will reduce recidivism and help people rebuild their lives – and remain – outside the state’s horrific prisons.
These bills, though fewer than we had hoped, are important first steps toward reform. Lawmakers’ attention during this special session will focus heavily on spending hundreds of millions of dollars on building new prisons. But prison construction alone is an inadequate solution to the humanitarian crisis in our state’s corrections system. Alabama imprisons too many people and fails to give adequate parole opportunities to people who have demonstrated readiness to return to society.
Your representative needs to hear from you that Alabama cannot build its way out of the state’s current unconstitutional prison conditions. The House will consider both these bills Wednesday on the floor, and in the shortened special session time frame, keeping the momentum from their quick passage in the Judiciary Committee is important if they are to become law. Please email your representative today to ask for their support in moving Hill’s criminal justice reform bills.
Email your representative here TODAY and ask them to vote YES on Rep. Jim Hill’s reform bills on the House floor on Wednesday.
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