Sunday, August 5, 2012

Letters to Judge/Parole Board Count for Much

The past few days we've discussed bail, grand jury indictments, and plea bargains. Now we come to a part of the judicial system where almost any citizen can have their say. Those accused who don't accept pleas, automatically go to trial. If found guilty, the judge will order sentencing at a later date. Just as with bail, there are set sentence ranges for each crime, and a judge may be asked to consider probation for the offender.

In any crime, no matter how large or how small, the victim and his/her family are not the only ones hurt. Friends, employers, co-workers, neighbors, etc., are all impacted when one becomes a crime victim. Some crimes are so heinous that whole communities are affected. Judges take letters from the public seriously. We encourage everyone who is concerned with crime in our area to write the Circuit Court judges who are deliberating the sentences of those convicted. Obviously, some letters will carry more weight than others, but this is the public's chance to have input into our judicial system. Let's be sure to take it.


Once convicted and sentenced, the offender is quickly assimilated into the state prison system. Due to tremendous overcrowding in Alabama prisons, early release comes soon for many. Most are released via the state parole system, and this is a second area where your letters count.

As D.K. says, we may not be here in 30 or so years when an offender comes up for parole, but our letters can be. As soon as the offender is issued an AIS number, everyone who has concerns about his/her crime should write the parole board. These letters stay in the offender's file permanently. If you don't give voice to your fears concerning certain offenders, don't complain when you see them on the local streets in only a few months.


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