From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Attorney General Steve Marshall has praise for the Alabama House of Representatives after the passage of House Bill 380 Thursday.
House Bill 380, sponsored by Representative Connie Rowe, R-Jasper, was passed by a vote of 73-27 and the intent of the bill is to reform the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.
“For nearly a year, the people have been stunned by news stories of inmates, who were convicted of violent crimes, being released from prison after only serving a fraction of their just punishment behind bars,” said Marshall. “In one case, Jimmy O’Neal Spencer, a violent offender sentenced to life imprisonment, was released back into the public after the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles made the unconscionable decision to grant him parole. Months later, Spencer brutally murdered two women and a seven-year-old boy in their homes. This tragic failure of our justice system should have never happened—and cannot ever be allowed to happen again.”
Marshall said that the issue had been one of concern for his office, as well as Governor Kay Ivey. Marshall was of the opinion that the Board of Pardons and Paroles would not address his concerns without legislation being passed.
“After Governor Ivey and I asked the Board of Pardons and Paroles to take corrective action, it became clear that needed changes to board’s procedures could only take place through legislative action,” said Marshall. “It is telling that the board has so far not only refused to take full responsibility for its failures but has stubbornly refused to accept needed structural reforms. The board has even gone so far as to lobby against legislation to make the board more accountable to our elected leaders and the public.”
Marshall was pleased with the new direction that the bill would set out for the Board of Pardon and Paroles. He had praise for the sponsor of the bill.
“In particular, I want to thank Representative Connie Rowe for her commitment to correcting this extremely important public-safety problem,” said Marshall. “The legislation has been the subject of vigorous and lengthy debate, and I appreciate Speaker Mac McCutcheon’s dedication to positioning it for final passage. I look forward to similar efforts in the Alabama Senate in the days to come.”