Cam Ward appearing on ‘The Daily Show’

Published 2:26 pm Monday, June 22, 2015

State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, after an interview for Comedey Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" in New York City on June 14. (Contributed/Cam Ward)

State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, after an interview for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” in New York City on June 14. (Contributed/Cam Ward)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Alabama Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, said he initially was reluctant to travel to New York City to record a clip for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” from June 14-15.

“I was a little hesitant at first, because I didn’t want to do anything that would make the state of Alabama look bad,” Ward said during a June 22 phone interview. “But I really think this portrayed Alabama in a positive light.”

A few weeks ago, producers from The Daily Show contacted Ward and asked if he would be interested in traveling to New York to take part in a segment addressing private probation companies.

The invitation came as a result of Ward’s 2013 legislation seeking to place more regulations on private probation companies, such as the Judicial Corrections Services company formerly used by the town of Harpersville.

In July 2012, former Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Hub Harrington issued an order halting the company’s operations in Harpersville. In the order, Harrington claimed the Harpersville Municipal Court system was running a “debtors prison,” and claimed the town was running a “judicially sanctioned extortion racket.”

During the 2013 Alabama legislative session, Ward introduced a bill aimed at placing tighter regulations on private probation companies, but the bill died in the House of Representatives at the end of the session.

If the bill would have passed, it would have formed a County and Municipal Probation Advisory Council to oversee private probation companies, and would have required private probation companies to submit quarterly reports to the council and district attorney. The bill also would have prohibited private probation companies from arresting individuals.

During The Daily Show interview, Ward talked about his bill, and talked about ways to handle private probation companies across the nation.

“I talked about what we can do to make them more accountable,” Ward said, noting the show covered all expenses for him to take the trip.

Ward said the segment is set to air sometime between June 22-25 on the show, which comes on at 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday on Comedy Central.

“It was really unique. Their newsroom is like a fraternity house,” Ward said with a laugh. “I’m glad I had an opportunity to go on the show and talk about this issue.”