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JRI Year: 2015



In 2015, Alabama had the most crowded prison system in the nation, operating at 195 percent of capacity. In addition, two-thirds of the nearly 80,000 people convicted of felonies and under correctional control were supervised in Alabama’s overwhelmed probation and parole systems, where caseloads averaged close to 200 cases per officer.1 This resulted in people being supervised in the community who are at a high risk of reoffending not receiving sufficient supervision and treatment. From 2014 to 2015, the state used a JRI approach with technical assistance from the CSG Justice Center to address prison overcrowding, avoid building new facilities, and reduce revocations from supervision.2


In May 2015, Alabama leaders enacted Justice Reinvestment legislation (Senate Bill 67) as a first step toward improving their justice system. Among other things, the law strengthened community-based supervision and treatment; prioritized prison space for people convicted of violent offenses and those who are most likely to reoffend; and provided supervision to every person released from prison. It also improved notification to victims regarding releases from prison. To achieve these goals, Alabama implemented policy and practice changes involving multiple state and local agencies.3


The changes enabled Alabama to address their overwhelmed probation and parole system by hiring more than 100 new probation and parole officers, deferring individuals convicted of the lowest-level property and drug crimes to receive intensive supervision and treatment in the community rather than prison, opening three day-reporting centers, and awarding contracts to improve access to substance use disorder and mental health treatment. The changes further addressed Alabama’s crowded prison system by implementing parole decision-making guidelines to prioritize prison space for people convicted of the most violent offenses and those who are most likely to reoffend. These policy and practice changes helped reduce Alabama’s prison population by 27 percent between 2015 and 2021.4

For more information, see Justice Reinvestment in Alabama.

JRI-Driven Policies and Practices

  • Reclassify/redefine drug offenses
  • Reclassify/redefine property offenses
  • Revise sentencing enhancements
  • Revise parole hearings/decision/eligibility standards
  • Establish/expand geriatric or medical parole
  • Authorize/develop/modify graduated responses or matrices for violations
  • Authorize performance incentive funding
  • Authorize administrative jail sanctions
  • Cap revocation time
  • Establish mandatory reentry supervision
  • Require/improve risk-needs assessment
  • Require evidence-based practices
  • Reduce probation terms or active supervision period
  • Improve behavioral health interventions
  • Require data collection/performance measures
  • Establish/extend oversight council
  • Improve restitution/victim notification

1 The Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2023, Justice Reinvestment in Alabama, New York, NY: Council of State Governments Justice Center, retrieved May 16, 2023 from

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

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