Sentencing Commission guidelines take effect in Fall - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Sentencing Commission guidelines take effect in Fall

Posted: Updated:
  • NEWSMore>>

  • Homeless man found dead near railroad tracks

    Homeless man found dead near railroad tracks

    Thursday, July 17 2014 9:49 AM EDT2014-07-17 13:49:05 GMT
    The body of a homeless man was found Tuesday morning on the railroad tracks near Fifth Avenue and 16th Street in Columbus. Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan has identified the 62-year-old victim but saysMore >>
    The body of a homeless man was found Tuesday morning on the railroad tracks near Fifth Avenue and 16th Street in Columbus.More >>
  • Police search for Opelika Circle K robbery suspects

    Police search for Opelika Circle K robbery suspects

    Saturday, July 26 2014 3:00 AM EDT2014-07-26 07:00:12 GMT
    Police are searching for two suspects after an armed robbery occurred at a gas station on 2nd Ave. in Opelika, Ala. on Thursday, July 24. The incident was caught on surveillance footage. According toMore >>
    Police are searching for two suspects after an armed robbery occurred at a gas station on 2nd Ave. in Opelika, Ala. on Thursday, July 24. The incident was caught on surveillance footage. According toMore >>
  • Auburn woman arrested, charged with child abuse

    Auburn woman arrested, charged with child abuse

    Saturday, July 26 2014 2:48 AM EDT2014-07-26 06:48:08 GMT
    A 20-year-old Auburn woman has been arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse.  The Auburn Police Division arrested Melanie R. Mitchell on a felony warrant on Thursday, July 24. The arrest is the resMore >>
    A 20-year-old Auburn woman has been arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse.  The Auburn Police Division arrested Melanie R. Mitchell on a felony warrant on Thursday, July 24. The arrest is the result of a complaint of child abuse that was reported to police on Tuesday, July 22. More >>
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Changes to the state's sentencing guidelines take effect later this year. The changes apply only to non-violent offenders, and are part of a larger effort to reform the state's sentencing structure.

"If we don't spend our money on building prisons and staffing them then we have to figure out who do we want in prison," said Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks, who serves on the Alabama Sentencing Commission. "And make sure there's enough room for the really bad actors. That's been my goal from the beginning."

The commission has spent years coming up with ways to reform sentencing in the state while protecting public safety. Barring legislative action, mandatory changes in sentences for non-violent offenders take effect in October.

More first time -offenders will get alternative sentences like drug courts or community corrections instead of prison time. The new guidelines also aim to reduce the wide disparity in sentences for crimes. Some judges are far more harsh or lenient than others.

"As a prosecutor and a person concerned about victims, we'll be watching how effective this is," Brooks said. "And the good news is it's a work in progress."

Alternative programs have seen some success. Brooks said 96% of offenders who complete one such program in Montgomery County never return to prison.

The commission has to issue a report each year to the Governor, Attorney General and Legislature.

But truth in sentencing for all crimes is a bit farther off. Guidelines have to be in place by the 2020 legislative session.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, Ga. 31906

FCC Public File
publicfile@wtvm.com
706-494-5400
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WTVM. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.