Brad Razorfed
3 min readMay 14, 2024


nmates sit in a treatment dorm at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore, Ala., Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 — Photo by AP Photo | Kim Chandler

In recent months, there have been numerous reports about violence, sexual assault, and dishonesty within Alabama’s prison system. Videos recorded on smuggled cellphones have revealed instances of inmate abuse, drug use, and severely overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions. Despite the significant amount of money allocated to Alabama’s Department of Corrections, activists argue that it is crucial to address the need for substantial changes in the criminal justice system. Despite having one of the highest rates of incarceration in the nation, the aggressive “tough on crime” approach has not effectively reduced crime rates and made communities safer.

In an interview with ABC 3340 News, Judge David Carpenter, who serves as the presiding judge in the Bessemer Division of Jefferson County, shared his insights on the necessary improvements to address the shortcomings of the current system.

As a civilized society we’ve got to do something. We need to make our prisons a place where people get rehabilitated and come out better than they were when they went in,” said Judge David Carpenter.

He says we think of the hallmark of a third world country as one that has brutal prisons. “We have to admit that’s what we have,” remarked Judge Carpenter.

According to, 95% of incarcerated individuals will eventually be released. With widespread issues of drugs and violence within prisons, there is…