PRESS RELEASE: Ala. County Commissions Association Releases Research Publication Update on “Alabama’s Unresolved Inmate Crisis”

  • Published: January 31, 2020

    January 30, 2020

    For more information, contact Abby Fitzpatrick, Director of Communication and Engagement, at 256-496-0191.


    Report reveals alarming impact of 2015 Prison Reform Act on counties

    Montgomery—The Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA) released an updated research publication today revealing that the cost to operate county jails and sheriff’s departments statewide increased by $93 million from 2014 — the year before the Ala. Prison Reform Act took effect — to 2019.

    Titled “Alabama’s Unresolved Inmate Crisis,” the research publication was updated from its initial release in December to include fiscal year 2019 data from Ala. county governments.

    “Funding the growing needs of county jails and sheriff’s departments since 2015 has been done by reducing other services at the local level, ” said ACCA Executive Director Sonny Brasfield. “For counties, that’s really the only option available.

    “At this point, we’re very concerned that counties will soon have to look at reducing law enforcement costs to pay for the parole and probation violators and Class D felons who — since 2015 — now have to sit in the county jail, where taxpayers pay for their medical care, lawsuits and housing.”

    ACCA’s research publication highlights the staggering growth of State inmates in county jails over the past five years and the annual price tag that is challenging local officials to balance the unexpected costs.

    Based on the recent data collected from a January 2020 survey of all 67 counties, the publication’s most significant findings reveal:

    • County jail operation costs increased by $43 million from 2014 to 2019, which is nearly three times the rate of inflation during that time period.
    • County sheriff’s department operation costs increased by $50 million from 2014 to 2019, more than two and half times the rate of inflation.
    • Combined county jail and sheriff’s department operation costs increased by $93 million from 2014 to 2019, nearly three times the rate of inflation.

    The Association of County Commissions of Alabama is a statewide organization speaking for all 67 counties with ONE voice. It promotes improved county government services in Alabama, offers educational programs for county officials and their staff members, administers insurance programs for county governments and employees, offers legal advice, and represents the interests of county government before state and federal organizations and agencies.


    Download the updated “Alabama’s Unresolved Inmate Crisis” research publication here.