MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – “I’m disgusted to the core.” That was District Attorney CJ Robinson’s response to the mass release of inmates across Alabama.
Robinson is the District Attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit, representing Autauga, Chilton and Elmore counties. He said 10 criminals from his district would be released.
In total 97 inmates at the state prison were released on Tuesday, according to the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles. This is fewer than the 400+ originally slated for release. The releases are part of a new law that went into effect on Tuesday.
“If you look at this list, there are people who might have drug offenses, but that’s the extreme minority. There are several who have violent crimes. There is a man being released from Autauga County who is charged with the attempted murder of a police officer,” Robinson said.
Robinson’s office is working to notify all victims. He said the state put a price tag on public safety.
“We worry about prison overcrowding, dollar signs and court cases. And I understand that we have to deal with all these issues, but at some point, for heaven’s sake, we have to go back to protecting the public,” he said.
Robinson said with the release of so many prisoners at once, he had no doubt we would see an increase in crime.
“If you look back at the early mandatory early release from last year, I requested a list for our three counties and there were 96 names on that list,” he said.
One of those people released last year was Michael Butler charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting two girls in Prattville after his release, and he is suspected of murder in another county.
“The disturbing thing was that he looked like an inmate, like he was listed as a corrections officer, but he wasn’t. He was at home. He got the exemption. And so he was essentially serving the end of his sentence at home,” Robinson said.
Robinson said in Alabama it’s almost impossible for him to tell victims what the sentence will be for the person who hurt them, unless someone gets life without parole or the death penalty. He said it’s possible to get a 15-year sentence and serve less than five years.
Sign up for the WSFA Newsletter and get the latest local news and breaking news by email!
Copyright 2023 WSFA. All rights reserved.