Parole Board Hearings: “Blink and you may miss the entire thing.”

If you want a fairly accurate picture of a parole hearing in Alabama, read this article entitled: “How do Alabama parole board members decide whom to release? Think ‘American Idol‘” The article recounts several parole cases while discussing the current parole rate and Cam Ward’s criminal justice reform bill.

The article makes one thing clear:

But even though the number of incoming inmates has fallen by a few thousand, the overall prison population has barely budged. That’s because paroles are becoming harder to obtain. In fiscal year 2009, the parole rate – the percentage of paroles granted by the state – stood just north of 42 percent. In the end of fiscal 2013, the rate had tumbled to 36 percent.

As the sentencing guidelines continue to filter out offenders, with less serious crimes and less-lengthy crime histories, I expect this trend to continue.