Like much of the United States, Alabama has seen a rise in drug use and addiction driven primarily by the opioid crisis. On Wednesday, state Attorney General Steve Marshall sat down with 1819 News CEO and host of the 1819 News Podcast Bryan Dawson for a wide-ranging interview, during which they discussed how accountability is the key to drug recovery.
"I wanted to send a message as a prosecutor, 'Yeah, I'm going to hold you accountable, but I'm going to support you in getting better.' Those two are not inconsistent missions," the AG said.
Marshall told of a time when a woman arrested on drug charges approached him months later to thank him for getting her life back on track through the court-ordered, "Christ-based" recovery program Celebrate Recovery.
"She walked up to me, and, frankly, I didn't recognize her," Marshall said. "She said, 'I want to thank you for the fact that I got arrested… because if I hadn't been arrested, I wouldn't be here, and if I wasn't here, I wouldn't know Him [Jesus].' That told me that something had changed. Something was working… Accountability gave the ability to change."
However, that accountability goes both ways, Marshall said.
"The criminal justice system changes the lives of victims, but they do of offenders as well, and we have that opportunity," he said. "...I can sit here and tell you that I can be that voice for law enforcement, and I treasure that opportunity, but when I'm talking to them [law enforcement officers], I also say, 'You're held to a higher standard.' The ends don't justify the means. The Constitution is there for a reason. We have that as our guardrail, and if we're not doing our jobs the right way, then we lose credibility completely not only as officers of the law but what it is we're attempting to do in communities."
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