For Immediate Release:
November 13, 2019
Unheard Voices O.T.C.J., 802-275-2071, firstname.lastname@example.org
Attorney Judie Saunders, 917-674-7753, email@example.com
Eric Buchannon Sr., 205-603-3825, firstname.lastname@example.org
Family and Friends to Gather at Complaint Hearing for Andre Wallace
Hearing highlights Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles long standing refusal to grant parole in case demonstrating extraordinary rehabilitation and community support
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Tomorrow, November 14, 2019, family, friends, faith communities and prisoners’ rights groups will gather outside the entrance to the Montgomery County Courthouse to support and stand in solidarity with Andre Wallace. Mr. Wallace has been incarcerated within the Alabama Department of Corrections for 45 years and will appear before the court for a complaint hearing regarding the continued denial of his parole.
At 8 a.m., Andre Wallace’s community will come together for prayer and a press conference outside the entrance to the courthouse, then proceed to move inside the courthouse to support Mr. Wallace at his hearing before the Honorable Judge Griffin scheduled for 9 a.m. in Room 3B at the Montgomery Circuit Court.
This complaint hearing will consider whether the state of Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles has violated Mr. Wallace’s 8th amendment rights, and whether the repeated denial of parole amounts to the parole board usurping the original court sentence resulting in a life sentence. This additionally would be prohibited in the case of someone who offended at the age of 15.
Attorney and advocate Judie Saunders summarized, “Mr. Wallace was sentenced with the possibility of parole. Now, after 30 years of following prison regulations, educating himself, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts, obtaining awards, certificates, ministering to others, Mr. Wallace is rehabilitated. He has upheld and satisfied what the criminal justice system required of him. But in direct contrast, the criminal justice system through the Alabama Parole Board has violated every promise and shattered every pillar of the criminal justice system.”
“Andrew went to prison in 1974 at the age of 16 and has had a clean record for 33 years. He has completed every educational, vocational, and spiritual program available and earned 10 college degrees. The countless individuals touched by Andre’s story, inside and outside prison walls, know that Andre has ‘earned’ his release,” stated Mona Song, an outside organizer with Unheard Voices OTCJ in reference to a statement by Charles Graddick, director of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
“Alabama’s current parole board has proven through word and deed that they are committed to the same mindset that drove Charles Graddick to author the 446 Act (Habitual Felony Offender Act) and that earned him the nickname ‘lock em up Charlie.’ Ms. Song continued, “The fact that the parole board continues to deny Andre’s parole, even after granting it 20 years ago and then rescinding it, confirms to us that Governor Kay Ivey and Charles Graddick have no intention to confront the entrenched racism on egregious display in the case of Andre Wallace, nor, for that matter, do a single thing to relieve the overcrowding in Alabama’s prisons.”
“We question the authenticity of politicians such as Senator Cam Ward when they claim to push for more rehabilitation, because not only does it accompany a false narrative for expanding prison slavery with the construction of new private prisons, but it is clear that Alabama fails to recognize the value of what programming it does provide.” Ms. Song adds, “It is time for Mr. Wallace to be free, it is time to vacate his sentence.”
Members of United Prison Ministries International will number among those in attendance to support Mr. Wallace, who has served as a part of their family and mission since 1980. They uplifted the work Andre has done while incarcerated, stating that “Andre has dedicated his life to uplifting and encouraging fellow inmates so they are prepared to re-enter society and not return to prison, touching thousands of lives.”
Unheard Voices OTCJ is a non-profit organization led by incarcerated organizers within Alabama prisons working to end the intergenerational cycle of incarceration and prison slavery.
United Prison Ministries International (UPMI) is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 that provides a link between the community and those confined in correctional institutions, distributing free Bibles, Bible lessons, and books, to help prepare prisoners for re-entry into society physically, mentally, and spiritually.