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Local lawmaker explains why he voted against prison reform bill

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 9:25 PM CDT
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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Brian Martin was released from prison on the “good time” law. This is not to be confused with a prison reform bill that was passed last week in Montgomery.

That bill was approved in the special session and takes effect in 2023.

It allows prisoners to get out of prison one year earlier.

“I think that particularly violent offenders should not be released,’” said State Representative Kerry Rich (R) Alabama 26th District.

Rich voted against a new law that will allow inmates like Brian Martin; to be let out of prison early with supervision.

“The deal was they would carry an electronic monitor for a year, and the probation officer would have to keep up with it. I voted against it because we only had $800,000 in the budget to cover the electronic device, and that would only covered about 25 percent of inmates to be released under that bill,” said Rich.

For several years, Rich said he has spent time at the jails in Marshall County and talked to inmates about their criminal history.

He said most of them said they are willing to make life changes while behind bars, but once they are released, some commit more crimes.

“So, I think we need to be very, very careful on all of these things, and we have an overcrowded problem in our prison system, and I think that has to be addressed. I think the bond issue and all of that discussed in the session will address some of that,” said Rich.

Rich said more than 50 percent of inmates in Marshall County are in jail due to mental health issues, which should be addressed to help inmates.

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