Late last month, State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) pre-filed a bill to postpone a law initiating a mandatory release date for some inmates to 2030, removing any retroactive benefits to inmates.

Since 2021, Alabama's law on mandatory release required inmates to be released three to 12 months before the end of their sentence, depending on the individual sentence. The only exceptions are life sentences and sexual crimes against children. It was signed in 2015 and applied to any inmates sentenced after the bill was signed into law.

During a special session in 2021, the compulsory release was retroactively applied to inmates sentenced before 2015 and went into effect earlier this month.

Elliott's bill (SB7) ends the retroactive portion and postpones the mandatory release date to 2030, meaning the only inmates eligible for mandatory release would be those incarcerated on or after Jan. 31, 2030.

Earlier this week, Gina Maiola, speaking on behalf of Gov. Kay Ivey, told Birmingham TV's ABC 33/40 that Elliott's bill was akin to the "unfettered release of criminals."

"I will reiterate that under Governor Ivey, public safety will always be at the forefront, and she will always be an advocate for victims and an upholder of justice," she said. "This is a pro-public safety, pro-common sense measure and implemented while respecting the rights of crime victims. Let's be clear about something: We are for supervision of inmates before the end of their sentences. Those who oppose this measure are for the unfettered release of criminals. The governor would not be in favor of these eligible inmates being released at the end of their sentence without any supervision period."

In an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "Midday Mobile," Elliott responded to the Ivey administration's remarks.

Elliott told "Midday Mobile" host Sean Sullivan the claim was "hogwash."

"That is hogwash and what I will call dishonest, intellectually dishonest," he said. "I mean, you're basically saying that law enforcement professionals across this state — district attorneys, the attorney general himself, sheriffs, police officers, all of who have said this is a really bad idea — are for the unfettered release of criminals? I mean, come on. That doesn't even pass the smell test."

Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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