The Alabama Department of Corrections Says Community Corrections Part of Overcrowding Solution
In a response to a request from Alabama State Senator Cam Ward, the Alabama Department of Corrections chief, Kim Thomas, gave a report to a Joint Legislative Prison Committee in which he reported that the increased use of Community Corrections Programs is one of the keys to relieving Alabama’s overcrowded prison system.
Prisons At Twice The Designed Capacity
Presently, according to Thomas, the Alabama Department of Corrections is operating at twice the designed capacity. According to Senator Ward, a number of other southern states have seen reduced prison crowding by using community corrections. The increased use of community corrections has not seen an increase in crime rates. “In my mind, community corrections, while not the only solution, is a big piece of the puzzle that would help us with some of the issues,” Ward said.
Department of Corrections Asked To Develop Incentives And Standards
Ward has asked the Alabama Department of Corrections to develop incentives to encourage counties in Alabama to use community corrections programs. Additionally, he asked that the Department of Corrections develop standards to determine effectiveness of the programs and whether they should receive state funding. Alabama presently spends 5 million dollars a year on community corrections programs.
Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett said that in the last ten years the number of counties with community corrections has roughly doubled. The number of offenders rose from 503 in 2003 to 3,133 in 2012.