Clicking on any of the Alabama Counties or Cities below will direct you to a list of all the City Jails, County Jails and Juvenile Detention Centers in that specific County.
Alabama has a population of just over 5 million people and has a crime rate that is above average. The good news is that crime rates are mostly declining in the State. Property crimes have significantly gone down, while violent crimes have risen slightly. Over the last century, the population has mostly shifted from the rural farming areas to the big cities like Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery.
Jails in Alabama differ from prisons in that jails are where offenders are transported and housed while they await trials for misdemeanor crimes and felonies. Many jails are large enough that they have the resources and space to separate misdemeanor, non-violent offenders from violent offenders such as a those accused of homicide. Smaller jails tend to mix all types of inmates together. Because of that all jails, except for minimum security worker facilities, of which there are very few, are considered maximum security.
Jails also house convicted offenders who have been sentenced to one year or less. On the other hand, if an offender receives a sentence of more than twelve months, they are sent to a Alabama State Prison, or in the case of someone who is found guilty of a federal offense, to the United States Bureau of Prisons.
Alabama Within the 67 counties of Alabama, there are about 132 jails and 15 state prisons, two federal prisons and three federal prison camps. Alabama has a poor safety record in terms of maintaining prisoners’ health and security. In 2019, the Department of Corrections released a three-year plan to try to improve the hiring and retention of qualified staff, to seize contraband, reduce illegal activates in their lockups and be more accountable to the public. Overcrowding and understaffing have plagued Alabama’s lockups. While expanding their population of inmates, the state reached a state of crisis in around 2010, with some facilities holding 2-3 times the number of inmates they were meant to serve, and Alabama was threatened with Federal lawsuits with regards to the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which offers protections against cruel and unusual forms of punishments. The disruptions of Covid-19 make it hard to determine whether any of the goals of the 2019 plan have actually improved conditions for inmates.
As mentioned above, there are a total of 132 jails in 67 counties in Alabama. Where a county or city has extra room in their jail facility and will accept inmates from a neighboring county or city that has run out of room. There are a few exceptions, most notably where a county or city has extra room in their jail facility and will accept inmates from a neighboring county or city that has run out of room. This is happening more and more, as Alabama is a growing state and like most other areas of the country, crime rates are increasing. Jails that were built 20-30 years ago are no longer capable of maintaining the jail population for their much larger, more crime-ridden communities.
When a neighboring jail facility in Alabama accepts an inmate that is not from their jurisdiction, the receiving jail gets a daily stipend to cover the cost. This can range from approximately $50.00 a day, up to $150.00 or even more.
When the state of Alabama sends an inmate back to the county or city jail to face new criminal charges or to appear before the court for other reasons, the state of Alabama also must pay this daily per diem. The same goes for when an inmate in a local jail is facing charges brought by ICE or the federal government. In those cases, the bill is being paid by the federal government.
The Department of Youth Services (DYS) runs three facilities for youth offenders: Mt. Meigs, Vacca, and Autauga. They also oversee the operation of eleven community-based rehabilitation programs for youth. Once a person turns 19 in Alabama, they are tried as an adult.
Juveniles incarcerated in any of the Alabama detention centers are either awaiting trial for a crime they are accused of committing that is serious enough that the judge has decided they must await trial in a lockup, or they have already been convicted and sentenced and are doing their time.
Juvenile Detention Centers in Alabama are typically as secure as any jail. They also have the resources for the youths to keep up with their schoolwork and to maintain positive relationships with family members who will be there for them upon their release.
Just as with the adult jails on this page and throughout the JailExchange.com website, you can look up any of the juvenile detention centers on this page by clicking on the county, city, or town where the juvenile offender was arrested. The Alabama juvenile facilities listed under that county, city, or town are where you will find the facility and/or the juvenile offender you are seeking.
For a person who has never spent any time in a county jail, just the thought of it can bring on the feeling of fear and anxiety.
Every jail in Alabama is different, and that often has to do with the staff employed there. Correction Officials who maintain a strict but fair environment -- treating inmates with respect, but making it clear that any infraction of the rules will never be tolerated -- tend to have a jail population that is less violent and more orderly.
Officers who play favorites, treating some inmates better than others based upon their race or other factors, and who don’t enforce the jail’s rules consistently, tend to have jails in which the inmates run the facility. That can lead to more violence, contraband such as drugs flowing through, alcoholic beverages being made, food insecurity and a generally poor environment for all.
Alabama inmates that are new to jail life, especially those who have never been in jail or find themselves being locked up for a short period of time, have the most difficulty as they are facing issues that regular jail inmates no longer deal with. As spelled out in these three ( Ever Been Arrested – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) articles about what it is like for someone who gets jailed, there are a range of emotions that all inmates have to deal with, but the most difficult times are definitely reserved for those who are experiencing jail for the first time. As outlined in the articles linked above, these are just a few of things a male or female inmate might be facing:
He is in jail. He is presumed to be guilty. He is frightened of the people around him and fears for his safety. His future is now empty. He is vulnerable. He is cold. He has no glasses and can’t see clearly. He has no cell phone. He has a limited access to call you if you choose to take the call. His job is in jeopardy. The custody of his children is in question. He is hungry. He faces extended jail or prison time.
He is treated with disdain and disgust by the authorities. He is strip searched. He has no privacy. All his comfort foods are not available. The jail food is bland, awful, and limited. He is being challenged physically and mentally by inmates who sense his fear and uncertainty. He has no internet access. He is thirsty. He is worried about his children. He is worried about his family. He is ashamed of what his friends and family think. He has no one to speak with. He has nowhere to go to ask questions about what to expect. He is worried about his apartment or home. He is worried about his pet. He is worried about his girlfriend or spouse. He is worried about his car. He is worried about his personal belongings.
His jail clothes are itchy, uncomfortable and don’t fit. His bed is hard, uncomfortable, and is kept awake by the snoring of others. He must wait for mail every day, hoping he hears from loved ones. He must wait for a visit that may or may not ever come. If he’s an addict; whether it be drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes, he is going through withdrawal. The nights are long as this is when the demons arrive and fill his head with more doubt and fear.
But given how uncomfortable and difficult jail is, because of the recent change in most Alabama jails where special tablets with movies, music, books, educational and entertainment content, video terminals, instant messages, video visits, gift packages that can be shipped in, in some cases local deliveries of hot food, online money deposits and more, jail is becoming much more comfortable and easier to deal with than it once was.
On every one of the jail pages in Alabama, as well as throughout the jailexchange.com website, we provide the information on how you can hook your inmate up with these services from your home computer.
By having access to these jail services, and the fear of losing the right to access these privileges, even the most troublesome and violent inmates now have a reason to not cause trouble and make life easier for themselves, other inmates, and the staff.