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Lawmakers approve bill named for slain police officer

April 8, 2022 GMT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers approved legislation Thursday to restrict the use of good behavior incentives to shorten prison sentences, a bill brought in reaction to the slaying of a north Alabama police officer.

State senators voted 28-0 for the bill seeking to prohibit anyone convicted of manslaughter from qualifying for “good time” incentives. It now goes to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey for her consideration.

Behavior incentives are commonly used to try to combat prison violence by giving inmates a reason to follow rules. Alabama currently allows some inmates sentenced to 15 or fewer years in prison to qualify for good behavior incentives. However, good time is not given for Class A felonies such as murder and rape. The bill adds manslaughter to the list of convictions that do not qualify for good time.

The bill is called the Sergeant Nick Risner Act. It is named after the 40-year-old Sheffield police officer who was killed while pursuing a suspect last year. Risner’s family watched from the Senate gallery as lawmakers voted on the bill.

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Brian Lansing Martin is charged with killing Risner, the father of one, and William Mealback Jr. of Cypress Inn, Tennessee. Martin had been released from prison in 2016 after serving a little over three years of a 10-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his father.

Martin is now in jail awaiting trial on the capital murder charge.