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Ivey announces $1M settlement with family of slain Bibb County deputy

Officials used Deputy Brad Johnson’s death as the impetus for sweeping changes to the state’s “good time” law.

Deputy Bradley Johnson

Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Wednesday that the State of Alabama will pay $1 million – the maximum amount allowable under State law – to the two daughters of Bibb County Deputy Sheriff Bradley Johnson, who was fatally shot in the line of duty just over a year ago.

On June 29, 2022, Johnson and his colleague, Deputy Chris Poole, were each struck by gunfire as they encountered a suspect who was driving a stolen car in rural Bibb County.  After a 16-hour manhunt, Austin Patrick Hall was taken into custody and charged in the case. While Deputy Poole recovered from his gunshot wounds, Deputy Johnson succumbed to his injuries the following day.

“Fundamental flaws in Alabama law granting correctional incentive ‘good time’ to inmates failed Deputy Johnson and his family,” Ivey said. 

APR has reported that Hall was released errantly due to mistakes by people administering the process, not due to a weak good time law. But officials have used the situation to drastically reshape how the state handles correctional incentive time 

“On January 9, I issued an executive order to halt the deficiencies in correctional good time that allowed inmates reduced prison sentences and early release despite records of violent behavior and escape,” Ivey said. “On April 14, I was also proud to sign into law SB1, which codifies further reforms to correctional good time to ensure that convicted felons no longer access loopholes in the law to threaten law enforcement and the public.”

SB1 will significantly change the prospects of eligible individuals making it out of the state’s overcrowded and deadly prisons. A perfectly behaved individual would only earn 225 days of correctional incentive time in his first two years in prison. Under the old system, they would have earned 1,350 days at the two-year mark.

“Alabama stands behind our law enforcement personnel and we must do all we can to ensure they are afforded every protection under the law to safely do their jobs.”

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Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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"That area is so important to our state and does not have four-lane access to the interstate," Ivey said.