MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT)– A committee of Alabama lawmakers passed a bill changing how inmates can earn correctional incentive time, or “good time,” to shorten their sentences.
The legislation aims to make it harder for inmates accused of misconduct in prison to shorten their sentences through good behavior.
Bill sponsor April Weaver is calling it the Deputy Brad Johnson Act in honor of the Bibb County Deputy killed last June.
“Deputy Johnson and Deputy Chris Poole were both shot essentially at the foot of my driveway,” Sen. Weaver (R- Brierfield) said.
The man charged with Johnson’s murder was out on good time when he was killed.
“That made me become aware of the very lenient good time laws we currently have in the state of Alabama,” Weaver said.
Currently, inmates classified as “trustworthy” can shave 75 days off their sentence for every 30 days of good behavior. This bill would cut that down to 30 days of good time for 30 days of good behavior.
It also reduces time earned for inmates based on different categories of disciplinary issues. At the highest level, for inmates attempting escape or homicide, they would forfeit good time entirely.
Those with the Alabama Sheriffs Association say this bill means a lot to law enforcement, and especially those in Bibb County.
“To have this move forward like it is right now, it’s even getting me emotional,” Alabama Sheriffs Association Executive Director Jimmy Lambert said.
Lambert says this bill comes at the right time, considering a recent string of law enforcement shootings.
“Violence is just out of hand. There’s a lot of people getting out of jail early that shouldn’t have. So we’re just grateful now,” Lambert said.
Critics of the bill have brought concerns that it will worsen overcrowding in Alabama’s prisons. This bill already passed in the Senate 30 to 1 and next heads to the House.