Huntsville faith leaders hold mass incarceration vigil

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Dozens came out to the Madison County courthouse steps to shed light on mass incarceration.

"The state of Alabama has the fifth highest incarceration rate of all states in the free world," said Alan Ballentine with Faith in Action Alabama.

Ballentine said those in prison are not set up for success when they are let out of prison.

"Depending on the nature of the crime they are physically prevented sometimes from engaging in any meaningful way to make a better life for themselves," he said.

The group is asking for Alabama lawmakers to reconsider the proposal to build more prisons in the state. They also said the issue goes beyond the Yellowhammer state.

"To our U.S. Attorney General reconsider those long mandatory sentences. Think about that and see if there is something else we can do instead as a community," said Ballentine.

Faith leaders said they do think prison can be a necessary punishment for some.

"When we are victims of crime, we want to make sure that the person is held responsible. But we also want that person to be restored back to a place where they can be productive and part of the society and community again," Ballentine said.