Wake Up Alabama
DOC tries to address crowding in Bold letters Montgomery Advertiser January 3, 2012. After reading this story, I obtained a copy of the lawsuit filed in California and if the same was filed in Alabama, this state could be faced with the same. However, here in Alabama, the problem is a lot deeper. One of the biggest reason why Alabama’s prison system is so badly over crowded is because of the way they classify violent and non-violent offenders.
It was over five years ago that the above mentioned story was done and it has truly gotten worst. Here in the state of Alabama whenever you hear something about inmates being released its always said that it will be the non-violent offenders; the drug and property offenders, however, there are thousands of inmates in the ADOC that’s classified as violent offenders whose not actually violent at all.
Let’s look at Third Degree Robbery. By Alabama’s law code of Alabama, 1975 section 13A – 8.43 (a) A person commits the crime of Robbery in the Third Degree if in the course of committing a theft he:
- Uses force against the person of the owner or any person present with the intent to overcome his physical resistance or physical power of the resistance or,
- Threatens the imminent use of force against the person of the owner or any person present with the intent to compel acquiescence to the taking of or escaping with the property. This is a Class C Felony, sentencing range 1 yr and a 1 day to ten (10) years.
This is a crime involving no weapon and nowhere in the language of the crime’s elements does it mention violence. Yet, here in the state of Alabama, it’s considered a violent case. They say it’s the threat of violence, but the naked truth in any crime has the potential to become violent.
A shoplifter steals a pack of candy and is approached by security, it can instantly become violent if the shoplifter: (A) Fights (B) Pulls a weapon or (C) If it’s the security guard that fights, overreacts and uses a weapon.
Another perfect example, Friday, February 3, 2012 in The Enterprise Ledger, a man was shot by someone breaking into his car; Theft turned Violent.
What do you think, should a person be considered a violent offender if he has never injured anyone, Or if he’s never been convicted of a crime where a weapon was used?
Deep rooted flaws in the Alabama Prison System is why our system is screwed.
Let’s look at on facility with two classes of inmates: Community Work Center (CWC) / Work Release:
Community Work Center – Minimum out Inmates.
These Inmates are allowed to work in society. They wear white state issued clothes and they work City Sanitations, Police Departments, Senior Centers, Colleges, Parks and Recreation and the Road Crews. The State (DOC) is given $1500 per day per inmate and the inmate is given $200 per day.
These inmates are those convicted of many crimes to include manslaughter. Some can go to work release and some can’t.
Work Release – Minimum Community
These Inmates are allowed to work in society on private jobs and wear their own clothes. They can take passes home. These Inmates are convicted of many crimes to include: Assault, Robbery First with a weapon or injury.
The State gets most of their money.
On December 12, 2012, I ended a (25) year sentence for Theft of Property and began on Life for Robbery Third. It took me nearly 23 years to make it to a community work center in May, 2010.
For over two years, I’ve worked in the kitchen as the Baker and Store Room Clerk. After arriving at my present facility I’ve worked for the sanitation and parks and recreation and I never had a problem on my job.
However, because I am classified as a violent offender and because ADOC says I have (3) or more convictions involving either the threat of a weapon or injury resulting from the use of a weapon:
I am barred from Work Release.
Nowhere in the Language of Robbery 3rd does it states threat of a weapon, but because of the original charge of Robbery 1st DOC says it’s violent. I was not convicted for a crime in the court but I am serving time for what I wasn’t convicted for.
The difference between in an Inmate in Work Release and myself is the dress code, I wear white and he wears street clothes. He works and gets paid by the hour; I get $30 to $40 added to my account each month to be spent back to DOC and he gets passes home, I don’t.
I have served nearly 30 years in prison and I am not alone. Whenever I go up for parole they insure that a protestor is present, when is Enough! Is Enough! This a deep rooted problem and it’s time for a change.
More to come!
By: Ismail Shabazz