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August 4, 2005

Judge Pryor urging sentencing reforms in Alabama

As detailed in this newspaper article from The Mobile Register, Eleventh Circuit Judge William Pryor in a speech earlier this week to the Southern Legislative Conference, said that "sentencing practices in many states have grown unfair and bulged prison populations over the last two decades."  Earlier this year Judge Pryor, who served as Alabama's Attorney General before his appointment(s) to the bench, also gave a very pro-reform speech as the Keynote speaker at the Columbia Law Review's terrific symposium "Sentencing: What's at Stake for the States?" (background here; Pryor's keynote address appears at Lessons of a Sentencing Reformer from the Deep South, 105 Colum. L. Rev. 943 (May 2005).)

Here are some interesting passages from the Register article:

"If sentencing reform has been urgently needed anywhere, it's in Alabama," [Pryor] said. "Crisis is the only word that could fairly be used to describe the condition in my state."...  Pryor ticked off statistics familiar to those who have studied the state's corrections system. Between 1930 and 1980, he said, Alabama's prison population held fairly steady at about 5,000 inmates. That number doubled by 1990 and increased to 23,000 by 2003.

In an interview after his speech, Pryor said other states have enjoyed great success at reducing overcrowded prisons by reforming their sentencing structures. Now that he is a judge, he said it is not for him to say when or how the state should proceed.  But he told the conference delegates during his address that while different "stakeholders" distrusted each other, "I could not find a defender of the status quo."

August 4, 2005 at 03:48 PM | Permalink


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I am a mother of a son who got a wrongful sentencing in Alabama (Houston County). My son had only been in trouble one time in his life and that was for possession of 13 zanxas-he got 3 years in jail. His next charge was trafficing and manufacturing meth.He got 40 years! The hell of it was he was at a friends house when he got busted-there was no manufacturing going on or did they catch him selling any drugs.Matter of fact they did not find any drugs on him.The friend got 15 years and he was busted 3 other times for the same thing before he ever went to court and they combined all charges and gave him 15 years.He was the manufacture and seller-my son sad to say was a user.The one that makes it and sells it will be back out in no time doing it again. My son the user has not been offered any help for his drug problem and got 40 years of his life took away from him. By the way his sentence was 15 years for one and 25 years for the other and the judge would not even run them together-he has to serve one sentence and then serve the other one. Where is there any justice in Alabamas court system.I do not uphold my son for using drugs but he needed help not his life took away from him.Alabama court system needs to be first in line for the stupidest stste in the world. Murders do not get that many years!

Posted by: Frances Brooks | Dec 8, 2005 5:02:37 PM

I am a mother who has a son that was wrongfully accused by an ex and wrongfully sentened in Texas. He was charged with sexual assault with a minor, which is way off base because hates a person that can do that to a child or anyone for that matter. They gave him life for this. Is that right or wrong you tell me.

Posted by: Amanda | Oct 8, 2007 9:42:33 AM

My nephew was sentenced last year 25 to life for drug distribution. He was on probation for one drug conviction. People convicted of murder and manslaughter don't get that kind of sentence. What can be done?

Posted by: Edna Walker | Jan 18, 2008 9:40:20 PM

You are comparing Drug dealers to Murderers. What do we have to do to get these drug dealers off the street and our children safe. A drug dealer can kill many young children. Did you ever think about that? How many chances do we have to give these drug dealers? If it was the other way around and you had a son or a nephew who died from drugs, you wouldn't think that these prison sentences are too harsh. The dealers sell the drugs and the innocent kids become an addict and in order to support their habit, they become a dealer. When does it stop? If the government does not do anything about it, we complain. If they do something about it, we complain. It is sad but true.

Posted by: Justic | Mar 13, 2008 1:47:59 AM

toshiba pa2510ur battery

Posted by: | Oct 14, 2008 9:27:03 PM

I am a mother of a daughter that had never been in any type of trouble before, she has 3 young babies, and ask the State for a little help for Housing, Well, the state put her in an apartment in this Getto part of Town with 3 small babies and she was I guess too friendly, there was these guys who took advantage of her Kindness, they were NO GOOD and she had only known them for 2 weeks when one day she was giving one of them a ride to a friends house and was being pulled over for speeding when the guy threatened my daughter her life that she had better not pull over, when she slowed down to go around a corner the guy jumped out of her car, then she pulled over for the law, come to find out the guy had a warrant, so they took my daughter to jail also. so, for all the things this guy was charged for, they charged my daughter for the same things plus got her for evading arrest. (GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION) she was sentenced to 15 yrs, and the guy got 25 yrs. Now, my granbabies are without their Mother, for a Crime she had nothing to do with. WRONGFUL SENTENCING, (TEXAS)

Posted by: Mildred | Aug 13, 2009 4:54:54 PM

Think about this, My brother recieved four life sentences plus thirty running concurrent out of florida from trying to save a mans life. Think about that for justice. Danny Brandon told Mitchell Barrow to get a guy out of his truck because he was going to take the truck or he would kill Mitchell L. Barrow and The man driving the truck. Mitch went to the truck to get the guy out and he rolled up his window and took off. Mitchell hit the ground and Danny Brandon unloaded a SKS into the rear of the truck. The victum didnt get hurt, thank the lord just got some holes shot in his truck and my brother Mitchell did not get shot either. Mitchell told the man to get out of the truck and just give them his truck, pleading with the guy. U tell me Justice is always right. Mitchell would have traded his life for anyone and this is how he is rewarded? If u dont believe me look into the case, Barrow Vs. Florida

Posted by: Michael | Oct 15, 2009 11:09:40 AM

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