Editor’s Note: This is an opinion column.
By Paul DeMarco
This past week the ACLU of Alabama issued a report critical of the Alabama Legislature’s approach to the criminal justice system.
What was the ACLU’s beef with lawmakers? They argued that too many recent bills considered by the legislature would make it easier to put people in jail for breaking the law.
The types of bills they disparaged were proposed to make the public safer. For example, they criticized the passage of the Nick Risner Act, which prevents an inmate convicted of killing someone with a deadly weapon from being released early under Alabama’s “good time law.”
Too many inmates convicted of violent crimes have gotten out of prison early, only to commit more of the same and create more victims. Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner was shot and killed in the line of duty in October of 2021. The man charged with his murder had served only three years of a 10-year sentence for manslaughter when he was released from prison. The felon was released early on “good time” incentives which will now be restricted since the bill was signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey.
Violent crime around the Nation has spiked, and one of the reasons has been the constant attack on law enforcement and reduction of the number of police officers patrolling our streets.
Alabama state representatives and senators need to take a hard pass on the ACLU and listen to their constituents who support their law enforcement officers and want public safety strengthened, not weakened.
The ACLU pushes misguided policies that have been implemented and miserably failed in other places such as Minneapolis and New York City. Plus, victims’ rights advocates and prosecutors are in a far better position to recommend to legislators what is needed to address crime rather than a group like ACLU, whose ideas have proven to lead to increases in violent crime and the number of victims.
Another legislative session is around the corner. Voters should make it clear that crime is out of control in our state and that Alabama leaders should make public safety their most important priority.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives and can be found on Twitter @Paul_DeMarco.