Alabama Legislature

PARCA Survey Says Alabamians Want Fewer Non-Violent Criminals in Prison, More Money for Education

The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama in a new survey said Alabamians favor supervising non-violent criminals in the community and giving them more rehabilitation opportunities rather than sending them to prison.

In the “Public Opinion Survey: 2019 Edition,” released Wednesday, a slight majority of residents surveyed, 58 percent, oppose building new prisons. Almost that many, 54 percent, thought only violent criminals should be held in the state’s prisons.

As in previous PARCA surveys, Alabamians ranked education as the most important service the state provides, followed by health care, public safety and highways.

Three-fourths of Alabamians said the state spends too little on education and almost as many said they would support increasing taxes for education. But the survey respondents did not agree on a single method for raising those tax revenues.

Alabamians also expressed a continuing disconnect with their own government, with 69 percent saying they believe state government officials do not care about their opinion and 57 percent saying they feel they have no say in state government.

The report is based on a random telephone survey of 410 Alabamians conducted between Jan. 28 and March 3 and weighted by race, gender and age. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percent.

The PARCA report contains more detailed information about specific questions posed to respondents and their responses. Because PARCA has conducted similar surveys for several years, the report also tracks changes in views expressed by Alabamians on these issues over time. Read the full report on PARCA’s website.