Former Alabama inmates seeking voice on criminal justice reform committee

State / Regional

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A group of former inmates are demanding that lawmakers give them a voice when it comes to criminal justice reform in Alabama.

Lee Lewis spent eight years in an Alabama prison. Now, he is a member of the Offender Alumni Association and is trying help those on the inside.

“By me being out now, I just have a concern about the prison system and the guys and girls that are in there now,” Lewis said. 

Lewis brought those concerns to the Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy, only to find out there’s no seat for him on the committee. Right now, the committee is made up of lawmakers and people with backgrounds in criminal justice.

One of Lewis’ concerns is safety for inmates and staff.

“I even seen an officer get killed, not see him get killed, but saw them bring him down the hall,” he said.

Those concerns are shared by other former inmates. Leceadricke Young has served time in both an Alabama and a Mississippi prison, he says the Alabama prison was by far the worst.

“We’re here to speak for them and let society know what’s going on behind the fence,” Young said.

Sen. Bobby Singleton said he will ask for a public hearing at one of the committee’s meetings.

“I feel conformable that the chairman will allow members of the public to speak,” Singleton said.

Gov. Kay Ivey said she will evaluate the committee to see of more people should be added.

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