New Sentencing Guidelines in Alabama?

Here’s the latest scoop on one of the issues we’ve been working in Alabama:

Alabama Governor Robert Riley (R) is expected to sign S.B. 231, a bill that creates voluntary sentencing guidelines for the state. The bill, which passed the legislature last week, is an important reform for the state, which suffers from severe prison overcrowding due in large part to harsh sentences for nonviolent drug possession offenses. The bill is part of the New Bottom Line Campaign, an Alabama group that, with the help of the Drug Policy Alliance, works to promote effective drug policies.

The legislation still is not signed into law and we need your help to ensure that it is. Please contact Governor Riley today and encourage him to sign S.B. 231 into law. Call Governor Riley at (334)-242-7100 and tell him that you support S.B. 231 and drug reform in Alabama. After you call, please visit the governor’s home page and submit an e-mail to the governor.

Last year, over one-third of Alabama’s prison admissions were for low-level drug offenses and sentencing procedures varied dramatically throughout the state. 75 percent of the state’s judges are expected to follow the voluntary guidelines introduced by S.B. 231, which would significantly reduce prison overcrowding in the state.

The new guidelines radically change drug-sentencing standards. The bill does not mandate a prison sentence for marijuana possession until the fourth offense, as opposed to the current guidelines, which mandate a prison sentence after the second offense.

Behind the leadership of the New Bottom Line Campaign and the Drug Policy Alliance, Alabamans are making progress for drug reform and enacting sensible marijuana policy.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

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