Prison overhaul bill near final passage

Prison Jail

The Alabama Legislature could give final approval to sweeping changes to sentencing and probation standards in an effort to relieve crowding in state prisons.

The Senate-passed bill was on the House debate agenda for Thursday.

Alabama prisons house nearly twice the number of inmates they were originally designed to hold, a crowding level that state officials say is both dangerous and puts the state at risk of federal intervention.

The bill aims to steer low-level offenders away from prison and create a new Class D felony class. It also seeks to increase supervision on former inmates as they are released from prison.

The legislation was put together by a prison reform task force with help from the Council of State Governments.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.