Alabama Legislature Mandates Changes to Pardons and Paroles Board

During its 2019 Regular Session, HB 380, which restructures and places severe limitations on the powers of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles passed both legislative houses and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature, which is likely. While specifics are to be hammered out during the administrative rules process, the net result will be more restrictions on early parole considerations for most inmates. Importantly, the legislation sets rules for when a parole hearing can be held, based on specific guidelines. As is the case with nearly all legislation, there is good news and bad news.

For inmates eligible to earn good time, the time for a hearing now will be set from “current docket” for those with sentences of 5 years or less to 85 percent or fifteen years, whichever is less, of the sentence for those serving on Class-A felonies. Disciplinaries while in prison also will work against a prisoner’s being considered for parole.

As always, time will tell what the practical effects of this legislation are, but anyone who is following a case eligible for parole or pardon should be aware that changes are afoot and they can and likely will have an effect on current and future cases before the Board.

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