State Sen. Cam Ward, the chairman of the Prison Reform Task Force, said the state needs to strengthen its alternative sentencing and fight a “drug epidemic” to reduce prison overcrowding, the Shelby County Reporter reported.
According to the report, Ward made the remarks following the Council of State Governments Justice Center board of directors meeting earlier this month in Memphis, Tenn.
Ward, R-Alabastar, worked with the group to discuss lowering recidivism rates, improving police response to people with mental illness, and reducing school suspension as a form of discipline. Additionally, board members examined issues related to hiring people with criminal records and improving data gathering in juvenile justice systems.
“The CSG Justice Center remains at the forefront of advancing data-driven, consensus-based approaches to increasing public safety,” Ward said. “Because of their research and analysis, Alabama was able to launch a dialogue about the criminal justice system in our state with a true eye toward justice reinvestment legislation.”