Media Statement | June 9 Emergency Proclamation

  • Published: June 10, 2020

    June 10, 2020

    For more information, contact Abby Fitzpatrick, Director of Communication and Engagement, at 256-496-0191.

    Statement by Sonny Brasfield, Executive Director, Association of County Commissions of Alabama

    In Response to Gov. Kay Ivey’s
    June 9 Emergency Proclamation

    On June 9, Gov. Kay Ivey issued her eleventh supplemental COVID-19 State of Emergency proclamation, which addresses the management of the virus among the state’s inmate population.

    In response to the Governor’s proclamation, the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA) has released the following statement, provided by ACCA Executive Director Sonny Brasfield:

    “The proclamation issued yesterday by Gov. Kay Ivey focuses a bright light on a crisis that has been flying under the radar for the past 75 days. And we agree with the language of the proclamation, which calls for the Department of Corrections to change its practices.

    “Today, there are 3,000 state inmates in county jails waiting on the state to accept their transfer. Some of these inmates have been sitting in county jails since January or even before. The proclamation by Gov. Ivey directs State Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn to develop a plan to accept the state’s prisoners who, today, are in every county of this state.

    “On March 20, Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn suspended the intake of state prisoners from county jails and now is accepting only 240 inmates per month – which represents about 30 percent of the normal flow of prisoners into the state system. Counties and sheriffs have been patient and have done their part to support the Corrections Commissioner so that he could have time to find a solution to this crisis. Interestingly, since March 20, the Department has released 900 inmates while accepting less than half that amount from county jails.

    “The 3,000 state inmates in county jails today represent about 12 percent of the state’s total inmate population. We agree that backlogging inmates at the county level is unacceptable. The presence of so many state inmates clearly puts every jail at risk of an outbreak of COVID-19, in the same way the state prison system is at risk.

    “Sheriffs in Alabama have done a remarkable job of adjusting to the new safety concerns in the face of the state’s decision not to accept inmates as required by Alabama law and the Alabama Supreme Court. We applaud sheriffs’ commitment and their ability to adjust quickly to the challenges they face in operating jails at the local level.

    “The proclamation clearly shows the Governor is ready for a change – and so are counties and sheriffs. Counties and sheriffs will continue to be partners in this effort, but everyone involved knows it is time for the Department of Corrections to put a plan on the table.”

    The Association of County Commissions of Alabama is a statewide organization speaking for all 67 counties with ONE voice. It promotes improved county government services in Alabama, offers educational programs for county officials and their staff members, administers insurance programs for county governments and employees, offers legal advice, and represents the interests of county government before state and federal organizations and agencies.