MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — After lengthy debate, the Alabama House gave final passage to a bill changing the way inmates can earn correctional incentive time, or good time.
The death of deputy Brad Johnson prompted SB 1 when it was found that the man accused of killing him was out early on good time. The bill reduces the amount of time inmates can cut off their sentence through good behavior. Currently, inmates can shave off 75 days for 30 days of good behavior.
This bill lowers it to 30 days for 30 days. It also eliminates good time for inmates who attempt escape of homicide. Senate Bill Sponsor April Weaver says this bills passage is a silver lining from tragedy.
“It will make for safer communities, it will make for safer environment for law enforcement officials, it is time that Alabama’s good time laws are strengthened and that bad people stay behind bars where they belong,” Sen. April Weaver said.
Attorney General Steve Marshall watched the debate from the gallery alongside Bibb County deputy Chris Poole, who was also shot that day.
Marshall says it’s a win for public safety.
“All this bill does is to incentivize good behavior in prison. It’s not taking anything away, it’s not punishing anybody, instead it’s doing what correctional incentive time is designed to do, is to make sure inmates abide by the rules and allow them if they’re eligible to be able to get days taken off their sentence,” Marshall said.
The bill passed 79 to 24, despite Democrats’ objections it will worsen prison overcrowding, and fails to address root problems within ADOC.
“When you start telling them that it’s easier to lose your good time, or if you commit a particular offense, you can never get it back. Can you imagine a facility, overcrowded, no resources, no rehabilitation, everything you’ve done is ignored by the parole board and you have no hope. Do you realize how difficult it is to manage anyone that doesn’t have hope,” Rep. Chris England stated.
Marshall says this law will apply to less than 10% of the prison population. The legislation now heads to Governor Kay Ivey for her signature in Montgomery.