Rep. Merika Coleman: Alabama Needs Real Reform, Not More Prisons

Montgomery, Ala – Rep. Merika Coleman announced today that she is introducing legislation that would reduce the state’s prison population without added cost to the state through Technical Violator Reform. Rep. Laura Hall is cosponsoring the legislation.


“If we are talking “reform” let’s actually look at reforms,” said Rep. Merika Coleman. “We all know that throwing money at a problem is not the way to solve it so instead of hanging an enormous weight of debt around the state’s neck, let’s actually provide some reforms that will solve the ongoing problems for good. I’m hopeful my colleagues across the aisle will allow this to be part of the discussion at this week’s Judiciary Committee meeting about the prison reform issue.” 


Technical Violator Reform would end the practice of incarcerating former inmates for technical violations of parole -such as failure to pay a fine or drinking- and also allow inmates to receive credit for time served in jail. 


Currently, parolees can end up back in prison for minor parole violations and, if arrested by the parole officer for such a technical violation, the time he spends in the jail awaiting transfer to a state facility does not count toward his sentence. 


This legislation would remedy both those issues and could reduce the state prison population by approximately 300-400 inmates in the first year alone. Technical Violator Reform is one of the top reforms recommended by the Council of State Governments.


Rep. Merika Coleman is the Assistant House Minority Leader. 


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