MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Gov. Kay Ivey signed an executive order Monday implementing minimum punishments for inmate misconduct and a change to the state’s correctional incentive, or “good time” rules.
The order outlines four levels of violation ranging from low, which includes offenses like contraband possession, to severe, which includes escape.
Each violation level comes with increasing penalties, including a loss of good time accrued and a waiting period before the incentive can be restored through an application process.
For severe violations, inmates can permanently lose the ability to earn good time entirely, barring rare exceptions determined by the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections.
“Our action today, very simply put, keeps violent offenders off the street, incentivizes inmates who truly want to rehabilitate and better themselves and reinforces the concept that bad choices have consequences,” Gov. Ivey said.
The order also addresses inmate escape procedures, calling for better coordination between the ADOC and law enforcement agencies. ADOC Commissioner John Hamm says streamlining communication is crucial to public safety.
“We’ve been working with other state law enforcement agencies, counties and cities on how we can better communicate as far as radio traffic. Because when we get to scenes where an escape has taken place, we all need to be on the same page,” Hamm said.
This order comes as Alabama’s prisons saw more than 220 reported inmate deaths last year, according to the latest available monthly report from September 2022.
Hamm says many of those deaths are due to natural causes as the prison population ages. For those that aren’t, he says 80% of those serving are there for a violent offense.
“So that in itself tells you that we have a population that is prone to violence,” Hamm said.
Hamm says addressing violence is something they’re working on, through rehabilitative efforts and restrictive housing units.
Hamm also addressed the execution protocol review that the ADOC is conducting. He says that should be finalized within a month or two.