As LWV-Mobile continues its study of sentencing reform and alternatives to incarceration, it welcomes Mobile Police Chief James Barber, who will present information on SCORE, a program that gives nonviolent drug suspects the opportunity to engage in positive life change through classes and counseling instead of facing drug distribution charges in court.

Through Second Chance or Else (SCORE), the police department is collaborating with the Mobile County Health Department, Spring Hill College and U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown’s office. Initiated in 2015, the program gives people sought in connection to low-level drug distribution offenses a chance to avoid charges by enrolling in a series of courses, including fatherhood classes, drug addiction counseling and job training.

In addition to the personal advancement participants gain through the program, successful completion allows offenders to avoid jail time and possible felony charges that can severely hamper employment opportunities for a lifetime.

SCORE also involves panels of leaders from Maysville and the Campground, two communities targeted for large-scale drug investigation operations by the police department. These panels help select the individuals who will be given the option to participate in SCORE.

“In our study of prison sentencing reform, LWV-Mobile has been studying suggested alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders and is very interested in learning more about the successes and challenges involved in SCORE,” said LWV-Mobile President Betsey Wooten.

James Barber has been part of the Mobile Police Department for 27 years, including time spent in narcotics and vice, intelligence, organized crime and drug enforcement, and internal affairs. Before being appointed chief, he directed the Field Operations Bureau, Support Services Bureau and the Administrative Services Bureau.

Barber earned a criminal justice degree from the University of South Alabama, a master’s degree in public administration from Troy State and graduated from the FBI National Academy and the National Executive Institute. He has also served as an adjunct instructor at USA.

Join us at the Bel Air Marriott, 3101 Airport Blvd., on Wed., Sept. 21, from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.. This event is open to the public, but reservations are required. Please RSVP to Jane Gordon at 251-402-3321 or by Sept. 19. Lunch is $18 or $19 by credit card. The League of Women Voters, a national, nonpartisan, political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy.