Alabama Sheriffs Association responds to inmate release

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Some of Alabama’s prison inmates are no longer behind bars and are enjoying life outside. A total of about 400 inmates are to be released early. The process started this week with 80 releases so far. The prisoner’s release stems from a prison reform bill passed by the state legislature in 2021.

The Alabama Sheriffs Association is responding to the release of the inmates. The association says it had no say in the decision.

“It’s very concerning,” said Jimmy Lambert, executive director of the Alabama Sheriffs Association.

According to Jimmy Lambert, one of the big concerns about the mass release of inmates was the lack of communication.

“Our sheriffs haven’t had an opportunity to comment, and neither have the prosecutors, to my knowledge,” Lambert said.

Lambert is also concerned about what he fears could increase crime with the release of so many inmates at once.

“I just got off the phone a few minutes ago with one of us, yours, who was looking at the list and one of the people who were released who I understand was an unrelated killer, back on the list to stand street,” Lambert said.

“We, as administrators who have to enforce the laws, have been told to enforce them,” said Cam Ward, director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.

Cam Ward, director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, says inmates are released with an electronic surveillance device.

This mandatory supervised release applies to inmates whose sentence is less than one year. And the state says it allows parole officers to monitor offenders who would otherwise leave prison unsupervised.

“We’ll take care of you after you’re released. We’re going to follow what the judge told us to do,” Ward said.

Lambert worries that law enforcement will soon be confronted with these criminals again. He calls it failure when law enforcement arrests the same perpetrators over and over again.

“We see it all over again, you let them out early, and they commit the crimes all over again. And we’ll attack again within a few weeks,” Lambert said.

According to Lambert, sheriffs and prosecutors across the state are hoping to work with lawmakers to update the law that led to the inmates’ release.

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