Shelby County Legislative Delegation approves resolution supporting passage of “Deputy Brad Johnson” act

Published 10:59 am Thursday, April 6, 2023

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By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

SHELBY COUNTY – The Shelby County Legislative Delegation, comprised of both House and Senate members, announced that it has unanimously approved a resolution supporting passage of the “Deputy Brad Johnson Act,” which intends to toughen and strengthen the requirements for inmates to receive “good time” credits for early release.

“The tragic death of Deputy Johnson revealed a literally fatal flaw in Alabama’s rules for awarding good behavior credits to inmates, and passage of this legislation will help ensure such needless loss never occurs again,” Shelby County House Delegation Chairman Arnold Mooney said.  “Alabama’s laws for awarding early release are the weakest in the nation—weaker even than those in liberal California—and our delegation supports the effort by Sen. Weaver and Rep. David Bedsole to fix an obviously broken system.”

Weaver won the special election for the Senate Seat in 2021 when former Alabama State Senator Cam Ward vacated the position.

“It has been my pleasure to serve Shelby County and work with you,” Weaver said. “There is one piece of legislation that is near and dear to my heart, it is Senate Bill 1 that I have pre-filed. It will ensure good time is used as an incentive for our prison population. This bill is named ‘The Deputy Brad Johnson Act.’ Many of you will remember the situation that caused me to start working on this bill. Deputy Brad Johnson was a Bibb County deputy who was murdered in June of 2022.”

Weaver’s bill will require all inmates to prove themselves for a set term of months before “good time” can begin to be accrued rather than continuing the current system of starting the clock when the cell door shuts.

Weaver is carrying this bill to the Senate, and Representative Bedsole is carrying the bill in the House.

“I believe that good time should have never been used just because,” Weaver said. “A lot of good time is being frontloaded for our population. This bill will do a number of things. It will roll back the way “good time is calculated and given here in Alabama. Right now, a prisoner can receive up to 75 days of good time for each 30 days that they serve. In my opinion, that is way too much. We’re going to roll that back 30 days for 30 days for the people that are acting the best. If they have issues, that calculation is rolled back even more.”

Weaver said another aspect of the bill is providing a list of offenses that will deem a prisoner ineligible for good time.

“I don’t believe if you have bad behavior in prison that you should get good time,” Weaver said. “The other thing this is going to do is require a report from the Department of Corrections to the legislature, the Attorney General and the Governor each year. This is something that I believe has to be addressed in the name of public safety.”