Representatives File Criminal Justice Reform Bill
Advocates for criminal justice reform plan to push several bills in February's scheduled legislative session.
Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, is the primary individual proposing the majority of the bills. He is looking to generate movement for the bills, several of which did not move out of assembly. Among the flurry is HB 30, which would create a state council that would develop standards for which the state Board of Pardons and Paroles would have to follow.
In an interview, England said "The Board needs oversight. I think we have seen the ineffectiveness of the Board. Our system is struggling, number one. and one of the ways to help that is to try to get the Board to follow some guidelines. Or at the very least, if they are going to deny someone parole, at least tell them why."
England's bill establishes a Criminal Justice Policy Development Council to create a set of criteria for risk and needs assessments for parole applicants, parole guidelines, and classification for people who have been incarcerated and want to be granted parole.
People on the Council would include law enforcement personnel, elected officials, and party leaders from both chambers of the legislature.
HB 30 would require the Board to adhere to guidelines created by the policy council. It would still allow the board to deny parole as long as they stated the reason why.
The legislation would also allow individuals who have been denied parole to appeal the decision to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
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Gallery Credit: Mary K