MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is asking the state legislature to pass proposed reforms to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Tuesday morning, the Attorney General took to social media to share a video message urging why he believes the reforms should be passed.
It’s been called a “revolving door of crime” in Mobile County, News 5 has seen many cases of convicted felons spending less than 25% of their sentence in prison.
“It’s like you’re getting a little slap on the wrist,” said Debra Balams.
Five years ago, Balams’ daughter was nearly stabbed to death. The woman convicted of the attack, Kayla French, was sentenced to 13 years. She was granted parole after serving two years of her sentence.
“When you speak of a 13-year sentence and she gets off in less than half of the time. It’s not very successful in my mind frame. When you look at the severity of the crime.”
French’s parole was reversed after Attorney General Steve Marshall got involved.
“The parole board needs to handle cases that are non-violent in nature. When it’s a violent offense, the parole board, they need to stand down,” said Balams.
Marshall is now pushing for lawmakers to make a change to that system. Earlier this year, a bill was filed that would require a violent offender to serve 85% of their sentence, before being eligible for parole.
“We must protect the people of Alabama, we must fix the broken system of parole, we must pass this bill,” Marshall says in the video.
In the video, Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich spoke on the revolving door of crime, saying some violent offenders are serving less than a tenth of their sentence. “I’ve never seen the situation we have currently with the Board of pardon and paroles as bad as it is right now,” Rich says in the video.
Rich has been outspoken on this issue, telling News 5 in February, she feels the Board of Pardons and Paroles is negating the hard work her office does to keep violent people in prison.
“This revolving door of crime is happening, and they see the defendants getting out of the penitentiary as fast as I can put them in there,” Rich says in the video.
Balams says she’s not sure it is enough. She said, “I’m still waiting. We’ll see how this plays out.”
Marshall says in the video he has delivered a bill to the Alabama legislature to reform the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, Senator Cam Ward and Representative Connie Rowe are leading the effort.
The bill has been introduced in committee and is awaiting action.