MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles denied 21 of 21 requests for parole in its latest hearing Wednesday, according to a press release from the agency.
The press release outlining Wednesday’s parole denials also mentions that the board held ten hearings regarding pardon requests by people who are currently incarcerated. The release did not include the outcome of these hearings. However, minutes from the board’s meeting reveals that it denied nine of ten pardon requests, granting one, with restrictions.
The denial of pardons and paroles has been a recent trend in the state. According to a report on the issue, 80% of pardons were granted in the 2018 fiscal year. By last year, the rate of approved pardons was down to 41%.
These decisions to continue incarcerating dozens of people at a time come in an era when Alabama’s prisons are well above the capacity for which they are designed, according to the state’s own numbers.
This overpopulation, paired with allegedly harsh and unconstitutional conditions in state prisons, has led to heavy criticism and significant litigation against the state. In 2017, a federal judge ruled that the level of psychiatric care in Alabama prisons was unconstitutionally insufficient. Just last year, the US Department of Justice said that people incarcerated in Alabama are subject to excessive force.
This article was updated on July 26 to include information on the outcome of pardon requests provided by Matthew Estes, Communications Director for the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.