EXCLUSIVE: Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman talks prison reform

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Former Alabama Governor and former inmate Don Siegelman is speaking out against current Alabama prison conditions.

Siegelman has defended his stance in his book “Stealing Our Democracy: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation.”

“The book, “Stealing our democracy,” is not so much about me, although it is about me, it’d more about how we can protect our democracy through both the abuse of power and presidential abuse of power,” Siegelman said. “But while I was in prison, we were stacked three high,we were so close you could reach out and touch the other bunk next to you. There was no space, there was only one door going in, one door going out, there were no windows. Showers were communal, soap was communal, urinals were just inches apart. It was impossible to socially distance. So there was no wonder that this COVID-19 is spreading so rapidly through prisons throughout the country.”

Siegelman has also questioned the state’s decision to release certain inmates during the pandemic.

“It’s interesting to me that inmates that are not a threat to public safety, who are non-violent, should be released,” Siegelman said. “If they are safe to be released now, it raises the question of why are they in prison now? Hopefully, out of this creativity that is coming from entrepreneurs in this period of sequestration of quarantine, that also we’ll get some thoughts to new ways to look at how we treat prisoners and who actually needs to go to prison and who don’t. It’s a huge tax bill that citizens pick upward of 185 billion dollars a year, 185 billion dollars a year, tax payers’ money. So if we can let some people out of prison without them being a risk to public safety, perhaps we need prison reform as well as entrepreneur reform.”

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