Most agree that Alabama’s criminal justice system is broken. But fixing it won’t be easy, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. For several months, the Prison Reform Task Force, led by state Sen. Cam Ward, and the Council of State Governments Justice Center have been working together to study the system, devise policy recommendations and identify funding needs. Underfunded courts, overcrowded prisons and limited rehabilitation services for offenders all contribute to the failing system.
Reversing a criminal justice culture rooted in harsh punishments is a challenge in the conservative state. Ward said, “It’s going to be very hard to push through because you have to change a lot of mindsets about how you deal with criminal justice.” He apparently has an ally in state Chief Justice Roy Moore, who said, “I consider the present criminal justice system to be unfair in its application. We have people serving life without parole who have never confronted a victim. The habitual felony law has been misused to add extremely long sentences that are unjustified.”