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3 months ago

Alabama House approves $85 million for prison improvements

Alabama lawmakers on Tuesday approved an $85 million increase for the state’s prison system as they try to comply with a federal court order to improve mental health care for inmates.

The House of Representatives approved $30 million for the Department of Corrections before September and a $55 million boost in next year’s general fund budget.

Nearly $5 million will go toward purchasing a private prison in Perry County.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled last year that mental health care in Alabama’s prisons was so “horrendously inadequate” that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The prison system is attempting to boost staffing levels and improve mental health services in the wake of the directive from Thompson to improve conditions.

“We knew that the solution, whatever was agreed upon, was money, and lots of it,” said Rep. Steve Clouse, the Republican chairman of the Ways and Means General Fund committee. “Those are going to be recurring costs so next year we’ve got to face that again.”

Clouse said the Alabama Department of Corrections will decide how to use the funds.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which is representing inmates in the class-action lawsuit against the state, declined to comment on the budget vote.

The budget bill now returns to the Alabama Senate where senators will decide whether to go along with House changes. Clouse said the budget might not go to committee conference in the Senate, as it usually does, because of agreement between both legislative bodies.

The budget also adds $1 million for the Department of Youth Services to create alternative treatment programs for troubled youth and $400,000 for juvenile probation officers.

Sen. Cam Ward, a Republican who is sponsoring a bill to reform juvenile justice, said he was grateful to the House for increasing funds, which was a key recommendation of the Juvenile Justice Task Force in December.

The general fund budget approved a 3 percent cost-of-living pay raise for state employees, the first in nine years, and a one-time bonus for retirees. It also included increases to address mental health and the opioid crisis.

The vote on the general fund budget was 98-1. The only dissenter was Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, a Republican from Franklin County, who criticized that more funds should go to forensic investigations.

The budget passed in 15 minutes. Clouse said it was the fastest passage in the memory of the House clerk, who’s worked in the legislature for 30 years.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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10 mins ago

The Pauline passage doesn’t address the justice of penalties for breaking laws

Scholars and pundits have made their thoughts well-known on the Trump Administration’s biblical arguments for “zero-tolerence” immigration enforcement.

Here I offer one more targeted to the structure of the argument that Attorney General Jeff Sessions made last Thursday.

For review, here are his words, which have enticed the most responders.

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Sessions shapes up his parameters as “to discuss some concerns raised by our church friends about separation of families.”

He continues: “Illegal entry into the United States is a crime, it should be and must be, if we’re going to have a legal system and any limits whatsoever. People who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. If you violate the law, you subject yourself to prosecution.”

Sessions then invokes St. Paul, whose instructions to the church in Rome he summarizes as to “obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.”

Here is my primary observation:

The Romans 13 passage is far too broad to address the justness of separating families. St. Paul’s guidance does perhaps provide a defense for the prosecution of illegal immigrants but certainly does not imply that should one break a secular law, any consequence is permissible, simply because a secular authority sanctioned it.

Truly, Paul speaks nothing of the justice of such consequences in this passage. As a result, the only piece of the immigration enforcement puzzle given any measure of justification by St. Paul is the notion that those who have entered illegally have broken a law.

In short, Sessions ventures from making a case for the justness of separating the children from their parents to making a much broader case that laws ought to be applied because God gave secular authority to enlist them.

Sessions’s use of the Pauline passage would not be completely useless for making a broad case for immigration enforcement but considering his starting point, the passage simply does not extend to imply what he implies which is that the result of prosecution, namely the separation of families, is just.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

40 mins ago

Immigration debate: ‘There is no room for them at the inn’ is a better Bible verse to reference

Americans have been told for decades that we need to have a complete and total separation of religion and government, including ignoring your religious beliefs during policy making when it comes to abortion and gay marriage. But when “children are being ripped away from their parents” at the border, the American media and Democrats have found the Bible to be a useful tool for bashing Christians.

Christian leaders were outraged, Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded by referencing his own Bible verse about following the law, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders agreed. Liberals and their media saw an opportunity, and an MSNBC host started quoting the Bible on-air.

The King James Bible has another verse that we can quote out of context for this immigration debate if we are so inclined:

Luke 2:7: “…there was no room for them in the inn.”

Why this matters:

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If Americans, their politicians, and the media, were serious about this debate it would be about how illegal immigrants impact our society.

We’d talk about the crime some of them bring and the resources that they consume.

We’d talk about the impact on wages and the employment market.

We’d talk about how a person making minimum wage can‘t afford an apartment on their own.

But this isn’t about any of that.

It is about fighting President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown, and Donald Trump’s presidency in general. They want more immigrants because they view that as the future of their political power.

This isn’t about reason or even morality, it is about emotional manipulation.

TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

1 hour ago

Alabama inmate recaptured, had escaped hospital through ceiling

Alabama authorities say an inmate who escaped from a hospital has been recaptured.

News outlets report 39-year-old Courtnee Austin was caught after escaping Saturday night. Birmingham police Sgt. Bryan Shelton tells AL.com Austin was bit by a tracking dog inside a crack house and taken into custody Sunday afternoon.

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Jefferson County Chief sheriff’s Deputy Randy Christian says Austin claimed he swallowed a razor blade and was hospitalized June 11.

A hospital staff member had asked that Austin’s restraints be removed so he could shower. A deputy outside the shower heard a bump and saw Austin climbing through the ceiling.

Austin navigated his way out, carjacked someone and fled.

He was arrested May 24 and charged with several offenses including rape and attempted murder. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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Alexander Shunnarah’s “Shark Of The Week” – Brian Hornsby

Brian Hornsby was this week’s “Shark of The Week” powered by Alexander Shunnarah Law Firm. Brian went into length about how his start with the law firm began. He describes his first days at the Alexander Shunnarah Personal Attorneys, and how Alex helped him out before he got through his first week. Graduating from The University of Alabama, Brian was able to meet his wife and have a son.  Brian shares what it means to be a “Shark” that helps people in need!

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Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

2 hours ago

Alabama park system allowing limited shark fishing

A pilot program will allow limited shark fishing on two dates this month at Gulf State Park.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said the events will take place at the park’s saltwater fishing pier on June 19 and June 26.

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Registration is required and fishing is limited to 10 anglers.

Parks Director Greg Lein said the trial program is being implemented after feedback from people who fish at the pier. Lein said many anglers have expressed concern that they can’t catch other species because of the abundance of sharks around the pier.

The park system said anglers interested in shark fishing on the two dates can apply in person at the pier, by phone to the park pier management during regular business hours, or online.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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