State Sen. April Weaver (R-Brierfield) is on mission to change how inmates in Alabama receive good time credits.
The state senator is introducing the “Deputy Brad Johnson Act,” which would toughen and strengthen the requirements for inmates to receive “good time” credits for early release. The bill is named after Bibb County deputy, Brad Johnson, was shot and killed during a pursuit of a fleeing felon. Bibb County Deputy Chris Poole was also injured during the incident.
Weaver discussed the importance of her bill during a Friday appearance on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program.”
“I’m a nurse and I’m a healthcare person and I typically haven’t carried prison bills or criminal justice bills,” Weaver said, “but Brad Johnson’s death and Chris Poole’s injuries were absolutely senseless. They were shot by a felon who had been given early release from prison after earning good time, despite that he had a whole lot of bad behavior when he was incarcerated.”
The lawmaker emphasized this is a public safety issue.
“This guy had escaped from prison, and when they recaptured him, he had tried to strangle a corrections officer while he was in custody,” she said. “He had all kinds of bad behavior and he was still let out on good time. If he had served his full sentence, as his behavior should have required, he would still have been in prison the day that all of this took place and these deputies were shot.”
She said her goal is not to end good time credits, but to strengthen the law to prevent more dangerous incidents like what happened with those officers.
“The legislation will require that inmates prove themselves for a set term of months before good time can begin to accrue, rather than just continuing the current system of ‘hey we’re going to start the clock when the cell door shuts,'” she said. “It truly changes it to be the incentive that it originally was intended to be. It changes the way inmates have the good time earned.
“Currently, they can have up to 75 days removed from their sentence for every 30 days that they serve, meaning that they can serve less than a third of their sentence and get out on good time, and that needs to stop.”
Weaver said the fact that this happened so close to home made her really focus on this problem.
“That is my reason for carrying the Brad Johnson Act,” she said. “After that situation, I began to look at the way good time is given in Alabama and I can tell you the current situation in Alabama, the way that good time is given, good time is no good.”
Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee
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