Save the Date: Sister Prejean and JAM Conference


There are two important upcoming conferences in our area, which we would like for you to put on your calendars. In November you can join conference chair and Dead Man Walking author Sr. Helen Prejean, leaders and members of national, state and local faith communities for an inspirational and educational experience. This conference is sponsored by the North Carolina group People of Faith Against the Death Penalty. For more information and to register, please visit or call 919 933 7567,

JAM CONFERENCE. Our sister organization, Justice and Mercy for All will sponsor its first-ever conference on February 18-19, 2011. Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty is honored to be a cosponsor of this event, which will be held at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham.

Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty


This just in…

The Legal Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Dan Abrahamson, is going to be a panelist at the event on October 15th–Drugs, Pregnancy and Parenting: What the Experts Have to Say!

AWRN is thrilled to have Mr. Abrahamson’s contribution and participation.  Don’t miss the chance to attend!  Register now.  Continuing legal credits have been approved (1 for education, 1 for ethics), as well as Social work continuing education credits.  Treatment continuing ed credits are pending, but approval is expected.  All credits are free!

REFUGE this Saturday, October 2nd

The Alabama Women’s Resource Network will be the guest speaker at this Saturday’s (Oct. 2nd) REFUGE meeting.  If you haven’t ever attended a REFUGE meeting, you are missing out!  It is a great way to meet others working in prison ministry and criminal justice reform in Alabama and to have fellowship with one another.  REFUGE is a Christian-based meeting group, but people of all faiths and non-faith are welcome.

Christian Ladies Fellowship

9-11am, Most 1st Saturday’s
Ryan’s Breakfast Grill
838 Odom Road
Gardendale, AL  35071

Contact Sharon Denham,
205-902-8437 or

In Alabama, a Hard Look at Sentencing Practices

From the Vera Institute of Justice:

Earlier this month, Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb from Alabama’s Supreme Court convened a conference of criminal court judges, district attorneys, and prosecutors to discuss what she calls the “hard work of fixing people” and the “easy work of filling prisons.”

Alabama is the most overcrowded prison system in the country, operating at 195 percent of its design capacity. Although many serious, violent, criminals are behind bars in Alabama, more than half of all new prison admissions last year were for drug offenses. Local and national experts at the conference presented the attendees with evidence demonstrating that sentencing certain lower-risk offenders to mandatory supervision rather than prison can improve public safety. On the second day of the conference, nearly 200 participants boarded buses, received box lunches, and saw for themselves the problems facing the Alabama prison system by touring medium- and maximum-level correctional facilities. For many, it was the first time they stepped inside the places where they send thousands of individuals every year.

What they saw astonished them: 196 inmates in a bunk house monitored by a single correctional officer. Feeding schedules that require inmates to be served breakfast at 3:30 in the morning. Temperatures that soar over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, cooled only by fans. In the judges’ own words, the visit was life-changing. One judge told Chief Justice Cobb that the tours had a “tremendous impact” on him. As a result, the week after the conference this judge changed the sentences of two incarcerated individuals to mandatory community corrections supervision.

Corrections Commissioner Richard Allen recently told the TimesDaily that if each of the state’s 140 judges who hear criminal cases sentenced 10 fewer people to a maximum-security prison per year, the state would save about $20 million. Alabama’s Public Safety and Sentencing Coalition, a bipartisan group of legislators and other policy makers, is working on a legislative agenda that will hold offenders accountable, enhance public safety, and save taxpayers’ dollars. Legislative reforms are necessary, without a doubt. But each sentencing judge, each supervising probation officer, each prosecuting district attorney—each individual—affects the size and scope of the criminal justice system. For the sake of safety, efficiency, and justice, let’s hope the conference in Alabama left a lasting impression and prompts these individuals to make the best decisions possible, not just “easy” ones.

Register Now: Family Reintegration & Parole Planning Workshop

Dear Community Member,

You’re invited to AWRN’s next educational workshop for loved ones and families of female and male prisoners. The workshop will be an all-day seminar that provides the tools families need to make the most of their loved one’s upcoming parole hearing and to prepare plans for their release. Workshop handbook, food, and a free gift will be provided. 
Click on the link below to register now as space is limited.


If you have any questions or need assistance in registering, please contact AWRN at (205) 916-0135 ext. 501 or at

Save the Date: Drugs, Pregnancy and Parenting (October 15th)

The Alabama Women’s Resource Network, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, & Alabama Voices of Recovery present…

Drugs, Pregnancy and Parenting: What Experts in Medicine,

Social Work and the Law Have to Say

Friday, October 15

2 PM – 5:30 PM

University of Alabama at Birmingham

 Heritage Hall, Room 102
1401 University Blvd, Birmingham, AL

  •  Up-to-date research distinguishing myth from fact regarding the effects of prenatal drug exposure on fetal and child development.
  • Evidence-based responses and resources to address drug and alcohol use by pregnant women and parents.
  • Approaches that advance maternal and child health

PresentersDr. Deborah Frank, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics Boston University; Dr. Curtis Lowery, M.D., University of Arkansas School of Medicine; Dr. Bisakha Sen, Ph.D., University of Alabama School of Public Health; Dr. Brenda Smith, Ph.D., University of Alabama School of Social Work; Ms. Kathrine Jack, J.D., National Advocates for Pregnant Women; Ms. Tajuan McCarty, Executive Director of The Neighborhood House

Continuing Education Units: May be available for lawyers and social workers and drug treatment counselors

Registration Required: Space is limited and expected to fill quickly.  Please pre-register.

Questions: Contact Catherine Roden-Jones of The Alabama Women’s Resource Network at or (205) 916-0135 x 501

Free and open to the public!

Snacks will be provided!