Gubernatorial candidate and corrections officer Stacy George said on Monday that the Casey White escape and capture left us with more questions than answers. George commented after authorities finally caught up with White and his accomplice, longtime corrections officer Vicky White, in Indiana. Officer White took her own life rather than be taken alive.

George is a corrections officer at the Alabama Department of Corrections prison in St. Clair County.

“As a 13-year veteran Corrections Officer at the largest and one of the most dangerous prisons in Alabama, it is urgent that we do several things,” George said in a statement. “First, we need to stop construction on new prisons except for one in the Montgomery area.  We need to divert the $1.2 billion, including $400 million of which is COVID relief money, to treating mental health by re-opening brick and mortar mental health facilities.

“Roughly 50% of the inmates in Alabama prisons are on the mental health case load, including Casey White. There are several questions I am willing to answer today.  First, are the citizens of the state in danger?  As a Corrections Officer, every night that I work, I have insights to a multitude of angles, and I have a lot of knowledge as a 13-year veteran. I have learned a lot about inmates and officers in Alabama prisons.”

George said that if elected, he would immediately issue a series of executive orders concerning inmates’ ability to escape and would call in the National Guard to secure the prisons and make the citizens safe in every Alabama prison.

George also said that he would create a video “near the old Bryce mental facility in Tuscaloosa dealing with what we do NOT do with mental health these days.

“The one question that I would like to ask the politicians in Montgomery, including Ivey, is what happened to the, at one time, 5,000 bed capacity of the Bryce facility?” George said.  “The new facility only holds a little over 250 people.  Does that mean there are 4,750 in the Alabama prisons/county jails or under a bridge instead of the mental facility?”

Alabama, like other states, has moved from a system of state sanitariums for the insane to a system of community treatment centers that involve far fewer lengthy hospitalizations at psychiatric facilities. There is a lot of evidence that this new and improved approach has not really worked well for the mentally ill or the greater community. Many of those persons, who before 1980 would have been sent to an asylum, have actually been allowed to run loose until they commit some crime hurting themselves and/or others and are incarcerated.

George is a former Morgan County Commissioner as well as an author. He ran unsuccessfully against then-incumbent Gov. Robert Bentley in 2014. George lost then, but campaign finance violations by Bentley in that race ultimately led to his removal as governor in 2017.

George is challenging incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey (R).

Lindy Blanchard, Lew Burdette, George, Ivey, Tim James, Donald Trent Jones, Dean Odle, Dave Thomas, and Dean Young are all running for the Republican nomination for governor.

Yolanda Rochelle Flowers, Patricia Salter Jamieson, Arthur Kennedy, Chad “Chig” Martin, Malika Sanders Fortier and Doug “New Blue” Smith are all running for the Democratic nomination in the Democratic primary.

Both primaries are on May 24.

The winner of the Republican primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary in the general election on Nov. 8.

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