Entries by Carla Crowder


New Data Tool from Council of State Governments Should Help Guide Criminal Justice Decisions

By Eddie Burkhalter, Appleseed Researcher A recent report by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Council of State Governments (CSG) found that overall crime, including violent crime, across the U.S. and in Alabama, has been on the decline. The report’s findings undercut the pervasive narrative of surging crime used to frighten communities and support mass incarceration. But as […]

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At age 70, Willie Ingram is free after spending four decades in prison for a $20 robbery

by Carla Crowder, Executive Director Willie Ingram, who served 39 years in prison after being convicted of a $20 robbery while armed with a pocketknife, celebrated his first Christmas and New Year’s Day as a free man.  Mr. Ingram was originally sentenced to life imprisonment without parole under Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act; his priors […]

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Talking Trash: Why is the tiny Alabama city of Valley arresting people for unpaid trash bills?

By Eddie Burkhalter and Leah Nelson Public outcry over the arrest of an 82-year-old Valley woman for $77 in unpaid garbage bills was swift, but records show the city has for decades arrested people over unpaid trash bills.   Martha Menefield’s arrest three days after Thanksgiving, made international headlines. The charge against her was dropped […]

Mass deaths across Alabama prisons over the Thanksgiving holidays, along with new evidence that prison supervisors are the problem

  Centuria Olds (left) and Deaundra Leshawn Johnson, Jefferson County jail booking An Alabama Department of Corrections captain and former ADOC lieutenant each face multiple criminal charges related to smuggling contraband into Alabama prisons, but the small number of prison staff arrests is vastly outpaced by the deaths and violence caused by contraband pouring into […]


Looking past the political ads and sensational headlines, the surprising truth about crime rates

By Eddie Burkhalter, Appleseed Researcher Alabamians are faced with competing narratives regarding crime and punishment. On one hand, Alabama’s prison system is brutal, broken, and fails to rehabilitate. On the other hand, some believe crime is on the rise and long prison sentences are the only answer.  Because Appleseed believes that policy decisions must be […]