House Minority Ldr Daniels on Ivey prison plan: ‘I’m not against construction as a whole but I am not in support of construction without reform’
During this week’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) reacted to Gov. Kay Ivey’s proposal to build three new prison facilities through a public-private partnership that would have the state of Alabama leasing those facilities.
Daniels told “Capitol Journal” host Don Dailey there was a lack of discussion about structural problems within Alabama’s criminal justice system beyond the facilities.
The Madison County Democrat lawmaker said he was not opposed to new construction but said that new construction would have to come with other reforms.
“If we’re prioritizing, Don, there’s no real conversation about Tutwiler,” he said. “You know, we continue to have these conversations about the male facilities, and I’m not disputing the actual conditions of these particular facilities. I think a part of turning the system around is having conversations about management and other factors, and partner with other agencies on how do we reduce this pipeline so we’re not continuing to try to build our way and warehouse individuals that are being incarcerated and individuals that are currently serving for minimal crimes — things like marijuana.”
“I’m not saying that that is not wrong but I am saying we are putting people in prison for things that I think that folks have done far worse that are serving less time,” Daniels continued. “I have a problem with that. And you know, I think that our system is broken, all the way down to the pardons and parole piece. We have been seeing stagnation there. We have not been seeing a lot of people get out, released. So I think there has to be comprehensive management and organizational conversations and actually seeing some people getting an opportunity to be released that are no threat to us or to ourselves or no threat to society. I just have a real issue with that — and I’m not seeing that. And I’m not going to say we’re not going to build our way out of this problem. There’s no secret that I’m more on the reform side — sentencing reform and other things than I am to just build new facilities so my kids and their kids can be paying this back. There’s a lot more questions than answers right now.”
“I’m not against construction as a whole but I am not in support of construction without reform coming ahead,” he added.
Daniels also said he could support a special session called by Ivey to address the reform elements.
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.