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House Minority Ldr Daniels on Pardons & Paroles Board: ‘Fire them all’; Predicts criminal justice reform bills will precede prison construction bill in special session

During an appearance on this week’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) previewed the special session of the legislature called by Gov. Kay Ivey set to take place this week.

Daniels acknowledged the importance of the new prison construction component was a necessity. However, he took aim at the Pardons & Paroles Board.

The Madison County Democratic lawmaker suggested firing the entire board and said there was data to justify that call.

“The other thing that I would like to see, but it would be difficult during the special session, is making sure we address and provide guidelines for pardons and paroles,” he said. “Right now, I see so many denials for parole, and that’s something that — and we’re looking at the data, and the data — I want to have a conversation with the parole board before I make any assumptions, but the data is not looking good. The people who are released versus those who are not — the ethnic aspect of it when you have a breakdown by ethnicity — it is problematic. And when you look at the type of crimes that were committed versus those individuals that had been released versus those that had been denied is also problematic. And so, for me, I would go so far as to say we should separate the Pardons and Paroles board, and possibly — I would say fire them all.”

“It may not go that far, but that’s something that public certainly needs to be aware of is that when you see this data, it is very disturbing,” Daniels added. “And I think that we have to have a longer conversation about it from a leadership perspective in making certain that we have to address these issues. Regardless of who you put over there as the director, that board, while they still get recommendations from the director, the board kind of takes it upon themselves. And right now, there’s no real guidelines. And so we have to provide guidelines. It’s unfortunate that we have to provide guidelines for people who are capable of making the right decision. But what I’m hearing from constituents and folks from all over the state of Alabama, talking about problem after problem and can’t understand why their loved one hasn’t been released. They’ve done their time. It seems like they have been resentenced for the same crime twice. Those are some of the things that are very concerning to me.”

Daniels predicted a successful special session, which included consideration of prison construction and two criminal justice reform measures. He also anticipated the criminal justice reform legislation would pass before the prison construction components.

“I think we’ll get three bills out next week,” he said. “The reform piece will pass, and then the construction piece will follow if the other pieces pass.”

@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.