“Good Time” will no longer be cause for early release for certain inmates, after Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Nick Risner Act into law. 

House Bill 143, named in honor of slain Sheffield K-9 Sgt. Nick Risner, drew much attention in Alabama’s 2022 regular session. 

The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Phillip Pettus (R-Killen). The bill was named after Risner, who was gunned down by a person who had served three years of a 10-year sentence for manslaughter after receiving time off for good behavior. 

The amended bill drew near-unanimous support from the legislature. The only “nay” vote came from State Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham). The family of Risner was present on the final day of the legislature, where the fallen sergeant was awarded the 2022 Alabama Legislative Medal of Honor.

According to Pettus, the killer was sentenced to prison for killing his father and had just killed his roommate the day he shot Risner. 

“He is riding down the road and shoots his roommate in the head and then drops off the body in the street,” Pettus said. “Motorists got the tag number and called it in. Officer Risner was leading the effort to stop him and arrest him. He shoots two officers and just missed hitting a third. Nick Risner was hit in the head. Officer Dotson was shot three times, but his bulletproof vest saved him. The third officer was just missed. The bullet hit his headrest.

“This person would still be in prison if we did not have the good time [early release due to good behavior]. All this bill says is that if you kill somebody, you do not get the good time [release].”

The new law will prevent those convicted of murder or manslaughter using a deadly weapon from being able to receive time off their sentence under Alabama’s “Good Time” law.

“Standing up for our men and women in blue is a top priority for my administration,” said Ivey. “Sergeant Risner’s killer should have never been released from prison in the first place, and while there is nothing that can be done to reverse this horrific tragedy, this legislation will go a long way in ensuring violent offenders remain off the streets. I’m especially thankful to Representative Phillip Pettus and the members of both the House and Senate for ensuring this life-saving legislation got across the finish line. My prayers remain with the Risner family.” 

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