CSU) — BALDWIN COUNTY, Alabama — Mayors, police chiefs, and prosecutors continue to hunt for answers as murder rates rise in our region and throughout the country.
Today, as he travelled the state honouring dead police, Alabama’s Attorney General chimed in. According to Steve Marshall, the answers are not straightforward. It’s a topic on which Alabama’s police chiefs, sheriffs, and district attorneys are all debating.
“The criminal justice system is broken,” declared Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson after several days of gun violence in various neighbourhoods of the city in March.
As violent crime took a turn for the worst in late March, it was a scream echoed throughout the state. “I’ve heard frustrations from law enforcement and prosecutors when they see folks who literally have the door slammed in their faces as they go in,” Marshall said.
Alabama’s Attorney General said today in Baldwin County, honouring dead law enforcement officers and their families, that when communities and local leaders band together, solutions are attainable, but that Washington is also to fault when it comes to gun violence.
“We freed federal law enforcement to be able to work gun cases on past offenders during Jeff Sessions’ term as attorney general, and we saw considerable success, and we don’t see that from the Biden administration right now,” Marshall said.
Every county in Alabama has been plagued with court backlogs. The Sheriff in Baldwin County, whose crime statistics are not nearly as alarming as in Mobile, argues that when one town suffers, everyone suffers.
“You must have a system through which individuals are penalised if they commit a violent crime,” Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Mack Jr. said. “One of the things that I’m glad to say in Baldwin County is that we do tend to hold people responsible on violent crimes.”
More judges have been requested by Mobile and Baldwin County, but Alabama legislators have been hesitant to act. “Yes, we can process cases faster, get them through, and reduce down on a backlog that we may have,” Baldwin County District Attorney Bob Wilters said. “However, where is the financing going to come from for my office or anybody else who is engaged with it?”
Every day, Alabama’s prosecutors and law enforcement officers confront a money dilemma with few solutions.