It’s a strong recommendation:
Alabama has enough of its own problems in matters of criminal justice. The state’s attorney general and staff ought to fill their days with the various challenges of Alabama’s legal system.
Sadly, though, recent Alabama attorneys general have treated the office as if it were a right-wing think tank, sticking their noses into legal matters far outside the state. One AG who is now a federal judge, William Pryor, even filed a “friend of the court” brief taking George W. Bush’s side in the 2000 presidential election case. The case might be relevant to a partisan politician, but not to the state’s highest law enforcer.
Unfortunately, Pryor’s replacement, Troy King, whom Gov. Bob Riley appointed to the office in 2004, has kept up this highly ideological practice.
What Alabama needs is an attorney general capable of representing the state in legal matters as well as overseeing a staff charged with pursuing justice for Alabamians. Because of his experience as Mobile County’s district attorney and his record of innovative ways of combating crime, John Tyson Jr. is the right candidate for the job.
What we hear from Tyson regarding targeting at-risk schoolchildren and intervening in their lives to keep them out of a life of crime is similar to what we hear from Gov. Riley and Richard Allen, the state’s prisons commissioner. All three men recognize that senseless tough-guy punishments are not enough to reduce crime. King, on the other hand, has derided Tyson’s ideas as useless social programs. Call them what you want; if they keep Alabamians from turning to a life of crime, this page endorses them.
I agree. I also like Tyson’s efforts to intervene before kids end up in the criminal justice system. We can’t house the prisoners we have now. I’d rather see troubled kids redirected onto a path toward a productive life than wait till they’re career criminals and then throw them in the pokey. Not only is it better for the kids, it’s fiscally responsible. We end up with more taxpayers and fewer prisoners to support.
Troy King, on the other hand, seems to be running right along partisan lines, bashing immigrants, refusing to disavow previous anti-gay remarks, and trying to paint Tyson as soft on crime. Sorry, Troy, but working to prevent crime is not soft. It’s smart.