Something almost miraculous is happening in Alabama prisons. The number of youth incarcerated has been halved since 2005. Buried in statistical reports from the Alabama Department of Corrections, the numbers are clear: in 2005, prisons housed 9,827 people aged 15 to 30, or 36% of the ADOC population. In March 2021, that number was 4,537, or 18%. It is breathtaking that this drop has hit people between the ages of 15 and 30, by all numbers, the age groups most likely to be arrested.
These dramatic cuts are in large part the result of the Alabama legislature passing significant sentencing reforms in 2006, 2013, and 2015. The new laws are working. Fewer young people are sent to prison, the sentences are shorter, the Habitual Felony Offender Act is used less.
And crime is on the decline.