In the recent Guest Op-Ed for the Courier Journal, Alabama Attorney General, Steve Marshall, gingerly criticizes Alabama’s Bureau of Pardon and Paroles for releasing an unnamed man from state prison who allegedly killed Police Sergeant Nick Risner on October 1, 2021. 

A quick google search led to identifying the man as Brian Martin.  AG Marshal focuses heavily on the fact that Mr. Martin was released on good behavior after serving only three years, five months, and two days of his ten-year sentence. The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) has since come out stating that “The ADOC does not make arbitrary decisions about releasing inmates. Brian Martin’s sentence was computed in compliance with state law.” 

While AG Marshall qualifies that Mr. Martin “racked up a lengthy rap sheet,” the ADOC described these infractions as minor and notes these infractions resulted in revoking six months of good time from Mr. Martin. AG Marshall suggests that removing such laws could have prevented the death of Sgt. Risner. 

However, he neglects the fact that Mr. Martin had no alleged criminal offenses in the five years since his early release until now. As a Master of Social Work student, I am continually alarmed by the rhetoric and facts chosen when discussing matters of prison policies. 

Such conversations should be conducted so carefully and with all facts presented. This would align with ADOC’s mission of “providing public safety through the safe and secure confinement, rehabilitation, and successful re-entry of offenders,” and to achieve greater societal well-being.  

Ashley Hunter

Athens, GA