MOBILE — The City of Mobile approved over a million dollars to go to the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office, despite several councilmen pointing out that the office was the state’s responsibility.
District Attorney Keith Blackwood asked the council to help fund his office to hire additional prosecutors. Blackwood explained the move would help “eradicate the backlog of cases.”
“We are grateful for the support that we have in doing this,” Blackwood said.
The $1,500,000 will be paid over three years, and the funding source will be the city’s general fund. Supporters of the agreement between the city and the DA’s office believe having more prosecutors would help curb crime.
District 5 Councilman Joel Daves said he supported the measure reluctantly because it’s the state’s responsibility to fund the DA’s office.
“It’s a sad day when the city of Mobile has to devote $1.5 million from other resources to fund a state agency at a time when the state is enjoying the largest budget surplus it has ever enjoyed,” Daves said. “I see this as a failure of the state of Alabama to properly fund the criminal justice system in this state. The unfortunate fact is because of the failure of the state of Alabama to properly fund the criminal justice system, the folks up here are left with the Hobson’s choice of either using $1.5 million of our money to provide a subsidy to the state of Alabama or to allow the criminal justice system, I’m not going to say fail, but not operate in a proper manner. This is unfair to the citizens of Mobile. It’s unfair to the people that sit in our jails, who deserve swift justice.”
Daves encouraged citizens to contact their legislators about the issue. Blackwood said he had been discussing funding with state leaders and lawmakers to make up the shortfall on the state level.
District 2 Councilman William Carroll said he also reluctantly supported the agreement but hoped the city could fund surplus money to spend on his district, which he said needed extra funding to address issues.
Pointing to the number of homicides in Mobile due to suspects out on bail, District 6 Councilman Scott Jones said he hoped the money could go to stop violent offenders from being released on the streets. He also called on the same amount of funds the city gave the DA to start going into communities in need within the next 30 days.
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