Applicable Form of Executive Clemency: Parole
The Alabama State Constitution vests primary clemency authority in the State Legislature, which has created the Board of Pardons and Paroles to exercise that authority. The Governor is only empowered to grant reprieves and commutations from the death penalty. The clemency powers granted to the Board by the State Legislature do not include commutation of sentences or conditional pardons granted to inmates.
Eligibility: As soon as is practical after a person is sentenced to prison, a file is prepared on each inmate's case and a Board designee schedules an inital parole consideration docket based on when the inmate may be considered for parole.
Section 15-22-28 of the Alabama Administrative Code states, "The board shall not grant a parole to any prisoner who has not served at least one third or 10 years of his sentence, whichever is the lesser, except by unanimous affirmative vote of the board."
When an inmate is convicted of one or more of the following Class A felonies (Rape I, Kidnapping I, Murder, Attempted Murder, Sodomy I, Sexual Torture, Robbery I with serious physical injury, and Arson I with serious physical injury) the initial parole consideration date shall be set in conjunction with the inmate's completion of eighty-five (85) percent of his or her total sentence or fifteen (15) years, whichever is less. This provision excludes crimes committed prior to March 21, 2001.
If the Board has denied parole, and scheduled the next consideration more than three years after denial, the Review Committee may consider earlier scheduling, but such review shall not begin earlier than 24 months after the Board has denied parole.
After a prisoner has served a minimum of five years, he or she may initiate contact with the parole officer assigned to their institution or the Board's Central Office, who may review the prisoner's progress to determine whether it may be appropriate to schedule earlier parole consideration. Such a rescheduling may be granted only for a good cause such as a prognosis of imminent death, a recommendation from the prosecuting attorney or the sentencing judge, and circumstances bearing on his or her probability to succeed on parole. Cause is not justified merely because the prisoner is following the rules in prison. If, after appropriate inquiry or investigation, the officer or agent is persuaded that earlier consideration may be proper, he or she may refer the matter to the Review Committee for consideration and file the rationale supporting the recommendation.
For case-specific situations not addressed in the previous information, please visit the Alabama Board of Paroles and Pardons website by clicking on the provided link at the bottom of this page.
Application Process: Inmates do not actually apply through an administrative request. The timing of parole consideration is determined by the eligibility criteria found above.
On the date set for consideration, the Board will convene an open public meeting. Inmates are not required to retain an attorney, but they may do so if they desire. Inmates are afforded the first opportunity to state the reasons relief ought to be granted. Their presentations are followed by officials and individuals present who were entitled to notice of the parole hearing. The Board may, in its discretion, permit any other person to offer information that might be helpful in making its decision. The Board may question any person appearing before them. If a member of the Board desires information from any person not present, the Board may recess while it seeks to contact that person.
Board decisions are announced at the conclusion of the hearing. After the Board has received the available information, the Chair or other member presiding asks whether the Board is prepared to take action. If any member is not ready, he or she states whether additional information is needed, and if so, what information is needed. If the information cannot be obtained during the hearing, the Board will decide whether to proceed without that information or to schedule another hearing.
If parole is denied, the Board shall determine whether and when the case will next be docketed for consideration, not to exceed five years.
If parole is granted, a certificate of relief will be issued in a timely manner. An expected release date cannot be given, but one can call (334) 242-8700 on Wednesday afternoons for the releases scheduled for the following Monday.
Several factors can slow down an inmate's release. They include:
- Unsatisfactory home and/or job plan.
- Out-of-state home and job plan.
- Needing to submit aftercare plan and/or mental health program.
- Required to attend substance abuse program before release.
- Sex offenders require 30 day notification.
- Requirement to attend halfway house.
If, prior to the effect of the certificate of relief, good cause is found by Board staff that suggests the relief could be held null and void, such cause will be documented and placed in the inmate's file and the case returned to the Board for rescheduling. Any member of the Board may void his or her vote to order relief prior to the execution of the certificate of relief. If any member of the Board voids his or her order for parole, the case is docketed for reconsideration as early as practicable. The order previously entered is stayed pending reconsideration.
About the Board:
Alabama State Board of Pardons and Parole (Central Office)
301 South Ripley Street
PO Box 302405
Montgomery, AL 36130
Tel: (334) 353-7771, (334) 353-8067
Fax: (334) 353-9400
TDD: (334) 242-0110
The Board consists of three members who are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the State Senate. Members serve six-year terms, and the chairperson is designated by the Governor. Members are full-time State officials, take an oath of office, and are subject to impeachment on the same grounds as other State officials. The current Board members are Clifford (Cliff) Walker (Chair), Lyn Head, and Dwayne Spurlock.
You are on an unofficial webpage, not affiliated with the official state webpage. Every effort has been made to make this information accurate and up-to-date. Changes occur frequently and errors are inevitable. We would appreciate learning of any errors or inaccuracies. You may write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CJPF is unable to answer questions regarding this state's clemency program. CJPF does not take on individual clients. CJPF cannot provide applicants for clemency any assistance. Do not send clemency materials to CJPF. Please do not write or call asking for assistance.
Last fully updated: 06/20/14. Partially updated 09/03/18.