More than 50 years after the Montgomery bus boycott, the Birmingham church bombings, and the long march to Selma, Alabama remains ground zero for racial inequality when it comes to the criminal-justice system.
The Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama nonprofit group, reports that on a per-capita basis, the state leads the nation in sending people to death row. Disproportionately black and poor, Alabama capital-case defendants are the only Americans whose judges can and routinely do override life-without-parole jury verdicts in favor of the death penalty. EJI also notes that the state’s death-row inmates are the only such prisoners in the country with no access to state-funded lawyers for legal assistance.
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