New Sentencing Guidelines Face Opposition

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Montgomery, Alabama The Alabama District Attorneys Association and a victims' advocacy group, Victims of Crime and Leniency, are opposing new sentencing guidelines set to take effect Oct. 1 in Alabama.

The guidelines were written by the Alabama Sentencing Commission, and they apply to nonviolent offenses. They are expected to result in fewer nonviolent offenders going to prison.

Prosecutors say the guidelines weaken their ability to use the threat of prison to settle cases and will result in more jury trials and delays. They want to see changes in the guidelines.

Defense attorney Joel Sogol told that Alabama's prisons are at nearly twice their designed capacity, and the state has got to make a choice about using scarce prison space for people convicted of violent crimes or people convicted of theft.