Monday, November 28, 2005




TIME: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM








Nall to be a guest on 90.7 New Rock Radio TONIGHT!

I have been invited to be a guest on The University of Alabama's college radio station 90.7 FM NEW ROCK tonight beginning at 7 p.m.

This show will stream live from the site.

Tune in.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Searing Portrait of Abuse


Magbie Experiences Respiratory Distress at [Correctional Treatment Facility] September 24.

[District Fire and Emergency Medical Services] paramedics arrived at approximately 9 a.m. During an interview, one stated that they found Magbie 'unconscious, very sweaty, and sitting at a 45-degree angle in his wheelchair.' His diaper was saturated with 'very dark' urine and his catheter drainage bag was filled with 'tea-colored urine.' One of the paramedics stated . . . that it appeared that 'Magbie had not been cleaned for several days.' His pupils were fixed and dilated. Paramedics could not get Magbie to respond verbally to a 'pain stick' or to ammonia.

Both paramedics stated that the CTF physician they consulted upon arrival informed them that Magbie probably had been in this state for several hours before being noticed. . . . They assessed his vital signs as unstable and determined that he needed to be transported to the hospital immediately. . . . The paramedics stated that they were delayed approximately 20-30 minutes because CTF officials would not let them leave before transport paperwork had been completed and Magbie's blood sugar level had been taken. [CTF physicians denied this when interviewed.]

The paramedics could not get their stretcher into Magbie's cell, and the medical staff did not know how to operate his wheelchair in order to move it into the hallway. Consequently, Magbie was lifted out of his chair and taken out of the room to the stretcher.

One paramedic stated that while they were trying to move Magbie out of the CTF as quickly as possible, a correctional officer was trying to handcuff Magbie.

* Excerpt from "Special Report: Quality of Care Issues Related to the Custody of Jonathan Magbie," October 2005, by the Office of the Inspector General, Government of the District of Columbia.

This is the 12th column to be written about Jonathan Magbie, a 27-year-old man who was paralyzed from the neck down at age 4 after being struck by a drunk driver. Magbie lived at home with his mother, needed private nursing care at least 20 hours a day and was totally dependent upon others because he couldn't use any of his limbs. He got around in a motorized wheelchair that he operated with his mouth, and his breathing was aided by a tracheotomy tube and an implanted diaphragmatic pacemaker.

Of all the accounts obtained and reported about Magbie's treatment while in custody of the D.C. government, this IG report, which I obtained from a confidential D.C. government source, contains, by far, the most horrifying and disgusting details. It documents incompetence, neglect and dishonesty. And it describes the unforgivably slovenly behavior directed toward Magbie once Superior Court Judge Judith Retchin so inexplicably turned over a quadriplegic to the D.C. Department of Corrections on Sept. 20, 2004.

And why?

Because Magbie pleaded guilty to the possession of marijuana found in his vehicle, which was being driven at the time by his cousin. Magbie, purchaser of the weed, was a first-time offender. Retchin, who the record shows was fully aware of Magbie's incapacitation, nonetheless sentenced him to 10 days in the D.C. jail, to be followed by probation and the payment of a $50 victim's assessment.

The city got its hands on Magbie on Monday. By Friday, he was dead.

We now know the truth -- or as much as can be learned without a public trial with witnesses forced to testify under oath -- thanks to City Administrator Robert Bobb, who refused to accept an obscenely weak investigative report by the D.C. Health Department's Health Regulation Administration that was issued a few months after Magbie's death.

The IG's 64-page report should be a must-read for Retchin, Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus King and all other judges and magistrates who sentence men and women to the custody of the D.C. Corrections Department. The correctional officers and medical staff who handled -- or, more accurately, mishandled -- Magbie are still in place, drawing their paychecks.

Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the D.C. Council's Judiciary Committee, which oversees Corrections, and David Catania (I-At Large), chairman of the Health Committee, which oversees the Health Department, must also read this report. The agencies under their jurisdiction make a mockery of the council's vaunted oversight.

Oh, yes -- the bureaucracy can produce written policies and procedures that make them appear as models of efficiency, as the IG report notes. But noncompliance, as in Magbie's case, is the rule. Those departments are, in truth, peppered with full-strength, trifling workers who get by doing next to nothing, all on the taxpayers' dime. The problem is that most of their supervisors, quality-wise, aren't much better.

This much we now know, thanks to Mr. Bobb and the IG:

The D.C. jail could not provide Magbie with the ventilator he advised both the jail and Greater Southeast Community Hospital that he needed. Magbie was taken to Greater Southeast the first night of his incarceration because of respiratory distress, but the hospital nonetheless sent him back; Greater Southeast staffers "knew there was no ventilator at the jail," the IG reported. No rationale for that decision could be documented.

The CTF and the D.C. jail, despite Retchin's representation in court, were not prepared to accommodate Magbie's medical needs.

The CTF's nurses did not follow doctor's orders, properly document their care or give the full range of treatment and care ordered and required.

There is no documentation that CTF physicians made daily rounds, no physician progress notes for two days of Magbie's incarceration, no up-to-date information on his health, progress, changes or needs.

There is no Health Department oversight of the CTF and jail medical operations, thus allowing both to function "at higher risk for undetected, systemic problems and medical errors that could affect inmate care and health," the report says.

The detailed description of their noncompliance is enough to make the blood boil.

The IG lacked authority to investigate the Superior Court's officers and employees involved with Magbie. Too bad. The court will never tell on itself. So we may never learn the fate of the medical-alert form that Magbie's lawyer filled out about his client's condition as Magbie was taken off to jail after sentencing.

The IG report said a Superior Court official stated that a court employee gave the form to two contract correctional officers who took custody of Magbie. The correctional officer who received the court paperwork stated, however, that it did not contain a medical-alert form on Magbie.

We don't have an independent evaluation of actions by Superior Court judges, officers or employees, who by law are above the city's reach. Don't count on any help from the D.C. commission that oversees judicial conduct and is chaired by William Lightfoot, a personal-injury lawyer and former politician. I'd rather turn to the three blind mice.

Maybe with the Superior Court's congressional protector, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), occupied with his own problems, Capitol Hill will review the court's actions both before and after Magbie's death. Otherwise, the public and Magbie's family will be treated with the contempt that court officials reserve for inquiring minds in the press.

Finally, I would urge a close reading of the IG's page of contradictory statements -- a list of conflicting testimony by witnesses with direct knowledge of the events involving Magbie. Truth, unfortunately, is still taking a beating.

But the tragic and unnecessary death of Jonathan Magbie may have one saving grace: We've finally got the goods on a rotten system.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Drug and Alcohol Felons CAN VOTE in Alabama

Drug, alcohol convicts can vote from prison

The Associated Press
By Samira Jafari
May 19, 2005

Many state prisoners convicted of drug and alcohol felonies may be eligible to vote, even while incarcerated, though they probably don't know it.

The state Board of Pardons and Paroles announced Wednesday that under a 1996 amendment to the Alabama constitution, inmates convicted of DUIs or drug possession alone never lose their voting rights -- despite the common belief that felons are prohibited from casting ballots.

"Everybody thought anyone convicted of a felony lost the right to vote," said Cynthia Dillard, assistant director for the pardons and paroles board.

Dillard said the parole board looked into the issue after hearing about a Pell City prosecutor trying to charge an inmate who attempted to vote in last November's elections. The board received a March 18 advisory opinion from Attorney General Troy King, who said only those felonies involving "moral turpitude" -- meaning the crimes are inherently immoral -- disqualify a convict from voting.

The finding caught state voting officials off guard, prompting a request by Secretary of State Nancy Worley to King seeking a comprehensive list of crimes that forfeit voting rights and those that don't.

"A uniform listing of felonies involving moral turpitude should be established, distributed and publicly posted in order to avoid different interpretations in each county," Worley said in a statement Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for King said Wednesday the request was being researched, but would not elaborate.

Voting officials also were trying to determine whether any names were improperly removed from the state list of registered voters.

Prison system and voting officials were uncertain how many inmates would be affected. More than 2,250 inmates were in prison for drug possession and about 640 were serving time for felony DUI as their most serious offenses, according to Dec. 31, 2004 figures by the Alabama Sentencing Commission.

It's unclear how many of those inmates were registered to vote and the prison system has not encountered any prisoners trying to vote, said DOC spokesman Brian Corbett.

He said if some inmates are eligible to vote, they likely would have to petition the circuit clerks in their home counties for absentee ballots.

The voting amendment states that inmates convicted of a crime of moral turpitude are ineligible to vote unless their right is restored, typically by a certificate from the pardons and paroles board. DUI and drug possession are prohibited by law, but not necessarily immoral, according to King's opinion.

"This is atypical," said Marc Mauer, who has researched felon voting laws for The Sentencing Project.

"In 48 states, generally all people in prison are not eligible to vote," he said.

Maine and Vermont are the only two states that don't revoke voting rights upon conviction.

Alabama also is one of 15 states that doesn't automatically restore voting eligibility upon release from prison, Mauer said.

While co-hosting the morning show today with Roberta Franklin I informed listeners that people in Alabama who have been convicted of a non-violent drug or alcohol related felony can still vote in the state of Alabama.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, most people were unaware of this ruling in May by Alabama Attorney General Troy King. After the show we decided to test out this ruling by going by the board of registrars office in downtown Montgomery. My friend and supporter William Boyd met us there with a relative who had been convicted of a drug felony and served two years in prison. He and Roberta requested voter registration forms to fill out.

When they handed them back in the lady behind the desk punched in their information and she informed one guy that his name had never been removed from the list of eligible voters. He told her that he tried to vote last year but his name was not on the list so he was denied the right to vote. Then the lady behind the desk said that those re-applying for a right they never actually lost had to have a letter of pardon from the Governor's office.

I explained to her that is not actually the case. She had not even heard of this ruling by the A.G.
She did reinstate the young guy's voting rights and gave him his voter registration card but would not/could not re-instate Roberta's right to vote. No reason was given.

I believe Roberta was slated to go home and call the ACLU. I'll keep you posted on how that progresses.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Drug Policy and Prison Reform Become Major Issues in Alabama Election

Drug Policy and Prison Reform Become Major Issues in Alabama Election

If you listen hard you can hear a rumbling undercurrent of discontent from the Southern United States about the controversial issues of the failed drug war and the massive negative societal damage it has wrought in one of the poorest and most remote corners of the nation.


Welcome to the buckle of the Bible belt, a place long known for its desire to punish with Old Testament vengeance instead of progress with New Testament kindness, compassion and tolerance.

A place where sin has been confused with crime and as a result almost 30,000 of my fellow Alabamians are rotting away inside the prison system, which was built to hold only 12,000.

A place where the first pot offense is a misdemeanor, but a second is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Current law sends nearly 500 people to prison each year at a minimum monetary cost of $5 million to Alabama taxpayers.

According to the prison commissioner, 80 percent of our folks in jail or prison are illiterate or have a drug problem, which is really no surprise, because in Alabama we spend more to incarcerate someone for smoking a joint than we spend per child in our education system. For instance it costs around $10,000 a year to imprison a pot smoker but only around $3000 to pay a years tuition at the University of Alabama. As long as we are willing to spend more to incarcerate than was are to educate we will always have full prisons as lack of education is one of the major factors in determining who goes to jail.

However, Alabama is also known for her rebellious streak and her strong sense of independence from the federal government. I represent that streak and am on a mission to remind Alabamians of that proud heritage.

Hope springs eternal and even in the Deep South things eventually change.

The winds of change began to blow in Alabama in September of 2002 when the drug war kicked in my front door and hauled me off to jail. That supreme injustice is responsible for my entrance into Alabama's 2006 Gubernatorial Election as the Libertarian Party Candidate.

While some people (sadly many of my colleagues in drug policy reform are included in that bunch) see my candidacy as a joke and think I do not have a snowballs chance in hell of "winning" I beg you and them to look a little deeper and perhaps re-evaluate what the definition of "win" is.

When I entered the political arena in Alabama some three years ago no one was working on drug policy reform. No one was loudly calling for an end to marijuana prohibition.
No one was writing or lobbying their elected officials on that issue. No papers were dedicating their editorial sections to the need for change in the way drug use is dealt with in our state or to the fact that our prisons are filled to bursting with people who got caught smoking a joint.
People in Alabama were scared to death to speak up or to step up and say that what has happened here is wrong. With good reason. Speaking up in Alabama is what got me arrested.

The Pot: Recreational

My emergence on the scene has had a dramatic effect however. After three years of letter writing, protest organizing, media interviews, hitting back at the injustice system and finally throwing my hat in the ring for Governor that wind of change has risen to a howling gale.

Here are just a few of the major breakthroughs my activism and my campaign have brought about.

Members of the third task force on prison overcrowding recently recommended making simple possession of marijuana a misdemeanor no matter how many times you are caught. That is a major change for a state who has handed out 10 year sentences by the bushel for possession of a joint to minorities and poor white people unlucky enough to get caught. It doesn't go far enough if you ask me but it is a step in the right direction, a foot in the door, a leg up.

My campaign calls for outright legalization of marijuana for adults, collecting the taxes from sales and using them to fund a scientific and realistic approach to prevention as well as treatment for people addicted to hard drugs.

Their first move across the drug policy reform chess board is a small one and before it is all said and done we will either meet in the middle and agree to something we can all live with or I will win the election and full sanity will reign in this state.

The Pot: Medical

On 4/20/2005 The Alabama Compassionate Use Act was introduced to the Alabama House Judiciary Committee. I sat in on the hearing and thought I had fallen into the twilight zone. Not ever in my life did I think I would hear black Alabama Democrats extol the virtues of States Rights and white Alabama Republicans voice concern about possibly pissing off the federal government. But that dear reader is what happened on that day.

Rep. Laura Hall (D - Huntsville) is a brave and courageous soul for introducing this incredibly controversial piece of legislation into the Alabama House of Representatives. Ms. Hall's son died in 1989 from AIDS. She believes that he might still be alive today if he could have used marijuana to help him keep his medications down and she is adamant that no other Alabamian suffering from any disease which medical marijuana might help should have to do so.

On that day a subcommittee was formed to study the legislation further and a vote was set for 4/27/05. I am happy to inform you that the Alabama Compassionate Use Act passed out of the judiciary committee on a sharply divided voice vote and is set to come to the house floor sometime in Jan. or Feb. of 2006.

After the Supreme Court ruling Ms. Hall was asked if she would bother bringing the bill back to which she responded, "The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday against medical marijuana statutes won't dissuade me."
Hall said she would be back with her bill because she believes it gets around problems that the Supreme Court found with medical marijuana laws in other states.

Come early 2006 Alabama is likely to be the 13th state to enact medical marijuana legislation. 13 has always been my lucky number and it will be even more so when it represents our position in the battle to protect the sick and dying from drug war brutality. Finally our rank will be something other that 50th in the list of things that are good.

The Prison Crisis

One cannot work drug policy reform in Alabama without also becoming involved in prison reform. After all, the failed drug war has fueled the prison crisis across the nation and in Alabama people in prison on pot charges have actually died due to lack of medical care. Since when does a pot conviction equal a death sentence in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

I have been working with Roberta Franklin who heads up Family Members of Inmates and is host of The Morning Show which I often co-host as well as The Ordinary People Society headed up by Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, a former inmate who served 10 years of a life sentence for crack cocaine in an Alabama prison. Earlier this year we helped organized a Prison Reform March on Washington D.C. with the November Coalition.

When Governor Bob Riley ran in 2002 one of his promises to the people of Alabama was that he would honor the recommendations of the Sentencing Commission. Those recommendations included making marijuana possession a misdemeanor, treatment instead of incarceration for drug offenders, early release of non-violent offenders and more community corrections and drug courts so that judges would have more options than jail for people who pose no danger to the community.

Governor Riley has failed repeatedly to do all of those things. At one point around 4000 non-violent offenders were released from Alabama prisons but since the laws that landed them there in the first place were not changed many of them wound up back in prison for a failed drug test or for missing an appointment with their probation officer and the number of people in prison quickly rose above those prior to the mass release.

Instead of acknowledging the obvious reasons for this and doing the right thing Gov. Riley has formed two additional commissions/task forces to look at the prison problem and they have all come to the same conclusions. I guess Riley meant he would follow the recommendation of the Sentencing Commission, but neglected to add that he would keep forming them until they told him what he wanted to hear. Unfortunately for Naughty Boy Bob they have all said the same thing.

1. Stop locking up non-violent drug offenders
2. Make treatment and community corrections an option in every county.

On November 16, 2005 their message apparently got through that thick Republican skull of his and Governor Riley announced that he plans to dedicate the first two weeks of the next legislative session to prison reform.

I'll be there every single day to speak for our people who are rotting away in cages.

My campaign platform calls for releasing all non-violent drug offenders from prison and expunging their records so that all of the extra judicially imposed obstacles placed before them are removed. Again I expect a compromise but I have a weapon that my opponents do not have and that weapon might be just the thing to win me the Governor's Office.

In May of 2005, Alabama Attorney General Troy King issued an opinion declaring that people convicted of drug crimes could vote even while incarcerated. He said drug crimes are not crimes of "moral turpitude".
That means that around 8,000 inmates currently in Alabama's prison system never lost their right to vote nor did the tens of thousands who have served time and are now back in society lose theirs.

In about two weeks I will be teaming up with Reverend Kenneth Glasgow to go into the prisons in Alabama and re-registering drug convicts to vote. We will also be contacting former inmates who may not know about this new ruling so that they can also register to vote. Considering the large number of people in Alabama who have been illegally disenfranchised over the years I fully expect their support in next years election. The Republicans and Democrats wouldn't be caught dead soliciting the vote of "prisoners" and you can take that to the bank.


While the Governor and the prison task forces appear to be moving in the proper direction to some small degree they still have it all mostly wrong. It looks as though treatment instead of incarceration is rearing its ugly head. Without my continued push for real reform here is what will happen in Alabama.

Marijuana users will be forced into treatment centers simply because marijuana offenders make up the bulk of drug offenses in this state and there is money to be made in the treatment industry. They will still be arrested, dragged through the court system and forced into treatment when they do not need treatment. That will still be a gargantuan waste of our very limited resources and will take up much needed space for people who do actually have an addiction to hard drugs.

The following proposals are what I vow to push for in the upcoming legislative session and throughout my campaign for Governor.

1. Marijuana should be separated from hard drugs and regulated in a way similar to alcohol and tobacco. There should be no threat of arrest, fines, drug testing or any hardship or any other form of punishment imposed on adults who use marijuana responsibly in the privacy of their own homes.

2. Drug courts and treatment resources should be directed at helping those who are addicted to hard drugs. There exists in Alabama a large group of people willing to pay tax on marijuana. The tax money collected could be used to fund drug courts and treatment for hard drug addicts just as the money collected in tax from the sale of alcohol is used to help fund D.H.R.

3. As for start up funding for drug courts and treatment centers, how about doing what Morgan County recently did on a statewide level?

" Morgan County Commission Chairman John Glasscock said he has identified money needed to start the program.
He said the money will come from the law enforcement fund that the county uses for matching funds for drug task force grants."

As you can see my work in Alabama has raised awareness of the drug policy and prison crisis to a much higher level than previously existed here. While I consider all of the debate about these issues a small win for our side there is still much to do.

A key test for being a viable candidate is raising enough money to get your message out. I'm writing to you for your support. Alabama law allows candidates to receive unlimited contributions in any amount from the public and up to $500 from corporations. Any amount you can give will be appreciated. Raising money now will help add credibility for my campaign.

The campaign itself will advance the drug issue and other causes in my platform. I'm sure no other candidate will raise some of the issues I will be raising. How effectively I can raise those issues depends in part on the level of financial support I can achieve.

And, while I realize the tremendous challenge of actually winning office in this race, if I am merely successful in turning this into a three-way race our issues will get coverage in ways they have never gotten before. And, if we are successful in winning -- an incredible political feat -- then the drug issue and other issues I have been advancing will progress to a new level of political importance. Suddenly, politicians will see these are issues people can successfully run for office on.

Please make a contribution to my campaign. You can do that in one of two ways.

Or if you prefer you may send a check or money order to:

Nall for Governor Campaign
4633 Pearson Chapel Rd
Alexander City AL 35010

Remember that my freedom is also your freedom and together we will gain it across America.

In Liberty,
Loretta Nall
Candidate for Governor of Alabama 2006

Monday, November 07, 2005

Alabama Libertarian Party Launches New Site

Check It Out!



What: Featuring members of Alabamians for Caring Use, this event is to help educate Auburn students and Alabamians in general about medical marijuana and the political, ethical, and medical issues surrounding it. A recent University of South Alabama poll showed that three-fourths of Alabamians favor legalizing the acquisition and use of medical marijuana for patients so advised by their physicians. A bill submitted in the Alabama State House of Representatives last session would stop the endangerment and victimization of such patients, and passed through the Judiciary committee before the session ended. This bill is certain to be re-introduced next session, and our AUL event will provide people with the other (non-statist) side of the story.

When: 7:00 - 9:00pm Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Where: Foy Student Union 203

For more information please visit Auburn University Libertarians

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Christmas for Alabama Kids of the Incarcerated


Contact: Nall for Governor Campaign
Loretta Nall
251-650-2271 -
Family Members of Inmates
Roberta Franklin
4633 Pearson Chapel Rd
Alexander City, AL, 35010

Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate Loretta Nall and Family Members of Inmates Director Roberta Franklin Team Up to Bring Christmas to Alabama Kids with Incarcerated Parents

Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate Loretta Nall has teamed up with Roberta Franklin and Family Members of Inmates to help bring smiles to the faces of Alabama children whose parents are serving time for non-violent drug offenses. This event will take place Saturday, December 10th at McIntyre Community Center in Montgomery, Alabama from 12 noon until 4:pm. There will be food, fun, gifts and surprises.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance 75% of all Alabama prisoners are serving time for nonviolent drug-related offenses. At 185% overcapacity, Alabama’s largest prisons are holding up to three times their capacity. In 200, Alabama’s state jails and prisons held more than 28,000 prisoners, forcing the Department of Corrections to send men and women out of state to private prisons in Louisiana and Mississippi, away from their families, communities, and most importantly, their children.

This year, the Nall for Governor Campaign, as part of their effort to transform Alabama’s failed drug war policies, is partnering with Family Members of Inmates, The Ordinary People Society, Head Start and Saving Kids of Incarcerated Parents (SKIP) to bring gifts and donations to the children of prisoners and provide these kids with the opportunity to send holiday greetings to their loved ones behind bars.

With your generous support, we are committed to creating one day out of the year when these kids are no longer the forgotten ones, but the center of a community who remembers them and cares about them.

The time these families have lost cannot be recovered, but on December 10th, 2005, these are all our children and this will be their day.

This is a very personal matter to me.

A little over three years ago my family’s personal life was turned upside-down due to Alabama’s drug laws. Department of Human Resources workers, or as I lovingly refer to them, government sanctioned kidnappers, were dispatched to my home to try and find a reason to remove my children. It is one of the most horrific things in the world to experience.

Imagine… are leading a normal, quiet life in the country. You are friends with your neighbors, you have no police record, and you work and provide for your family.

Your kids are clean, well dressed, loved, cared for and have a nice stable life in a rare two parent home. They go to school every day and like to watch cartoons on Saturday. You are a regular American family just trying to get by.

All is well.

Or so you think.

Then the police get word that you might smoke a joint once in a while and proceed to violate the sanctity of your home. In the process they call the Department of Human Resources and ask for workers to be sent to the home to try and remove your children. These workers, total strangers whom you have never seen before in your life, show up and proceed to ask all kinds of personal questions in rapid-fire style about your kids and how you parent them. Then they start asking the kids questions.

My son who was 9 at the time my family experienced this was asked;

“Do you play on the computer?”


“Do you have an email account?”


“Do you ever get pornographic stuff in your email?”

“Yes…but who doesn’t?”

My daughter who was 5 at the time was told;

“You have such pretty hair…who brushes your hair?”

“My mommy.”

“Does it ever hurt?”


“Are you sure?”


“You mean it never hurts when mommy brushes you hair?”

“No. “

“What about when there is a knot in it?”

“Well, sometimes I guess it hurts a little.”

Luckily, I was able to retain custody of my precious, innocent children that day. Others are not so lucky. Many times this situation ends with the kids being whisked away by total strangers to a foster home.

You are not told where they are.

You cannot see or speak to them unless the government worker says so.

You cannot be there to hug them and tell them everything is ok or that you love them.

And while that is awful enough think for a moment about what the kids go through.

Ripped from the only home they have ever known, for reasons they cannot understand, cut off from any communication with their mom or dad, and placed in the care of complete strangers they must feel unloved, isolated, terrified and alone.

Imagine what that is like.

As a community of cannabis smokers, many of you parents, you face this unfathomable consequence as a result of your association with a plant.

This year I am asking you to please consider making a donation so that as a community we can support the children that this nightmare has become a reality for. These are OUR kids. Let’s show them how much we love them.

Let’s show them just how much we care about these kids. Help us make this a memorable event, not only for the kids but also for the lawmakers who are watching.

There are a couple of ways that you can donate.
Click here to use PayPal.

Or mail your donations/gifts to:
Nall for Governor Campaign c/o Loretta Nall
4633 Pearson Chapel Rd
Alexander City AL 35010

Gifts for boys and girls of all ages are needed.

In Liberty,
Loretta Nall
Nall for Governor

Pictures from Last Years Event located at this link.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Crowded Prisons

The Times Daily

Should nonviolent drug offenders be sent to Alabama's prisons or diverted to community based corrections or substance abuse programs?

Alabama's prisons are overcrowded and too many nonviolent offenders are being locked up there instead of being dealt with at the local level. It's an expense that state taxpayers cannot afford.

Nearly one-third of state prison admissions in Alabama are for drug offenses, which is driving overcrowding, according to a prison study released last week.

The study is cited as more evidence that nonviolent drug offenders should be diverted to community corrections or substance abuse programs.

State Rep. Locy Baker, an Abbeville Democrat, said the report by the New York-based Justice Strategies reinforces a proposal submitted to Gov. Bob Riley by his task force on prison overcrowding.

It recommended alleviating the inmate population with alternative means of punishment, including transition centers, community corrections and drug treatment programs.

A number of sentencing reform bills are expected to be considered during the 2006 session of the Alabama Legislature.

The report also notes that Alabama's tough sentencing rules against nonviolent drug offenders are creating racial and geographic disparities in the prison population.

More than half of the prisoners locked up for first degree marijuana possession are black men, even though blacks represent only 26 percent of the state's population. And sentences for the drug offenses tend to be longer, an average of 8.4 years for the marijuana offense while felony driving under the influence results in a sentence of only about half that.

In addition, some rural counties have no local community drug treatment programs, which means they send minor offenders to state prisons rather than bear the cost of local incarceration.

All of this adds up to not doing what is right by minor offenders.

Researchers say shifting more inmates from state prisons to community corrections would save taxpayers money. Allowing inmates to work in community based programs costs only one-third as much as the $33 a day we now spend on housing them in state prisons.

Rehabilitation programs are a better use of our money than warehousing minor offenders in prisons where they are likely to turn out worse than before they were incarcerated.

It's easy to be tough on crime; it's much harder to come up with the cash to pay for more state prisons.

The state should look hard for lower-cost alternatives that can be shown to be effective in rehabilitating offenders.

Dear Editor,

In response to (Crowded Prisons Nov. 5, 2005),

While I am all for treatment and community corrections instead of prison for non-violent drug offenders I am somewhat concerned about the possibility of forced treatment of non-violent marijuana smokers.

Since the majority of non-violent drug offenders are guilty of nothing more than possessing a few joints they will still make up the majority of people forced into treatment. This will still cost Alabama taxpayers a great deal of money and will drain resources away from treating hard drug addiction.

As someone who has worked in drug policy and prison reform in Alabama for the last three years I'd like to make a few suggestions to the Task Force on Prison Overcrowding and to the citizens of Alabama.

1. Marijuana should be separated from hard drugs and regulated in a way similar to alcohol and tobacco. There should be no threat of arrest, fines, drug testing, hardship or any other form of punishment imposed on adults who use marijuana responsibly in the privacy of their own homes.

There exists in Alabama a large group of people willing to pay a reasonable tax on marijuana. The tax money collected could be used to fund drug courts and treatment for hard drug addicts just as the money collected in tax from the sale of alcohol is used to help fund D.H.R.

Never mind the Federal government...we have states rights.

2. Drug courts and treatment resources should be directed at helping those who are addicted to hard drugs. To allow them to become clogged with pot smokers is self-defeating and will ensure future problems.

3. As for start up funding for drug courts and treatment centers in all Alabama communities, how about doing what Morgan County recently did on a statewide level?

" Morgan County Commission Chairman John Glasscock said he has identified money needed to start the (community corrections) program.
He said the money will come from the law enforcement fund that the county uses for matching funds for drug task force grants."

Since we won't be imprisoning drug offenders anymore we won't need drug task forces anymore and there is no reason not to redirect that money to more productive and humane ways of addressing drug use in Alabama.

Respectfully Submitted for publication,
Loretta Nall
Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate 2006
Vote Nall Y'all

Addicted to Prison

Addicted to prison
Saturday, November 05, 2005
The Birmingham News

Anyone who says drug addiction isn't a serious problem should be asked: What have you been smoking?

The fact is, addiction is a costly plague that wrecks lives, families and communities, and most of us are too aware of it. The only real dispute should be over how society deals with addicts and reduces the harm they do to themselves and others.

Alabama can keep doing what it's been doing - locking up those who use and abuse drugs - but only if it's willing to pay a steep price for the privilege.

A study released last week shows drug offenses accounted for 31 percent of prison admissions in Alabama last year. Of 10,267 prison admissions in 2004, 3,202 were drug-related offenses - almost double the combined number of admissions for robbery, murder, rape and manslaughter. Between 1999 and 2004, prison admissions for drug and alcohol offenses increased more than 20 percent.

Worse yet, drug addicts are serving longer sentences and clogging prisons under the state's habitual offender laws, according to the report prepared by Justice Strategies of New York for the Drug Policy Alliance. The report says 1,325 of the state's 8,259 habitual offenders are drug convicts.

If this continues, the state will have to build and staff new prisons to accommodate the swelling inmate population - or face the penalties for operating dangerously crowded prisons. Alabama's been there, done that.

As the study demonstrates, it makes more sense for drug offenders to get treatment for their addictions and to be diverted, when possible, from expensive prison cells to cheaper community-based alternatives.

Most communities, though, lack enough drug treatment programs and alternatives to meet the needs. And because some communities are better equipped than others, racial and geographic disparities show up in those who are getting sent to prison for long stretches. That's unacceptable.

Alabama must address the problem by devoting more resources to drug treatment programs and by developing more alternatives to prison for nonviolent drug offenders. We can't keep locking people up and throwing away the key.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Community corrections an investment in future

Decatur Daily

Community corrections an investment in future

Alabama does not have a prison problem. It has a crime problem.

Rather than building more and bigger prisons — or spending money to study the state's prison-crowding situation one more time — Alabama should revamp its sentencing guidelines to get non-violent offenders treatment and rehabilitation.

A report released Monday points out that drug-related offenses made up 31 percent of state prison admissions in 2004 — nearly twice the number of robbery, murder, rape and manslaughter entries combined, according to figures supplied by the Alabama Sentencing Commission.

Between 1999 and 2004, prison admissions for drug and alcohol offenses increased by 21 percent, while admissions for crimes against persons fell 14 percent.

Alabama lawmakers will consider a series of sentencing reform bills when the 2006 regular session convenes.

Gov. Bob Riley's task force on prison overcrowding has recommended reducing the prison population by alternative means of punishment, including transition centers, community corrections and drug-treatment programs.

Lawmakers would be wise to heed those recommendations.

We certainly don't advocate the legalization of marijuana, as announced gubernatorial candidate Loretta Nall has proposed. But community drug-treatment and rehabilitation programs make more sense than assigning pot possessors to prison beds.

Drug-treatment programs are expensive. But incarceration costs more in the long run.

Nor do community corrections programs work 100 percent of the time. Some who complete rehabilitation programs eventually return to illegal drug use. Often, addicts return to treatment several times before successfully kicking their habits.

Rehabilitation must be a goal of any criminal justice program. Locking up non-violent drug offenders together and with other criminals has proven ineffective in reducing recidivism.

Why change? The most compelling reason is that what the state has done historically hasn't worked. Our prisons keep overflowing.

Weigh Changing Marijuana Law

Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama needs a clear-eyed look at all of its laws that are significant factors in the prison overcrowding that plagues the state. Serious thought has to be given to whether the laws as written really accomplish desirable ends.

Accordingly, it was refreshing to see at least the possible beginning of a debate over Alabama's marijuana possession law in the comments of two members of Gov. Riley's prison overcrowding task force. Although Jim Hill, a St. Clair County circuit judge, and Robert Harper, a retired Lee County circuit judge, do not favor decriminalizing marijuana, they do question the wisdom of incarcerating people for possession.

That's an issue well worth debating. Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor in Alabama -- for the first offense. With a second offense, it is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. About 500 people are sentenced to prison for this offense each year.

Note that the offense is possession, not trafficking, which is an entirely different matter and one that clearly is a much greater threat to society. No one is talking about lightening up on drug dealers.

As the task force wound down its work last month, Harper suggested that some consideration should be given to making marijuana possession a misdemeanor. Hill said he could consider supporting the change if it were strictly limited to possession charges.

There are important questions to be asked. What benefit does the state get from incarcerating an individual for marijuana possession? Is the public safer as a result? Is the drug user better equipped to be a law-abiding citizen after serving prison time? Are the public resources required to keep an individual in prison best used for that in such cases, or would there be greater benefit from a community corrections program with drug treatment?

"According to the prison commissioner, 80 percent of our folks in jail or prison are illiterate or have a drug problem, and I think we need to start looking at who we want in prison," Hill observed.

"I'm personally in favor of us greatly expanding our community corrections programs and looking at these folks who are basically drug addicts and dealing with them in a community setting, where we can stress education and sobriety and holding them accountable, but at the same time leaving our prisons for people who are genuinely a danger to society."

Surely that makes more sense than sending a person to prison for marijuana possession. This is a debate Alabama clearly needs to have, particularly in the Legislature, where any changes in laws will have to take place.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Family Nearly Loses Newborn Over Faulty Urine Test


Family Nearly Loses Newborn Over Faulty Urine Test

A newborn was reunited with her family Monday night after the state took
custody of the baby and her older brother after her urine tested positive
for marijuana, KPRC Local 2 reported.

Zelma Jackson gave birth to her second child on Oct. 19 at Northeast
Hospital in Houston after she and her family fled Louisiana during Hurricane

However, Child Protective Services took custody of the newborn girl and her
3-year-old brother after the hospital reported a positive test for marijuana
based on an unconfirmed urine test. Hospital officials have not said how
they legally retrieved a urine sample from the baby.

"I told them, 'I don't do drugs, so I'm wondering how did you all find
marijuana in my child's system when I don't smoke marijuana,'" Jackson told
KPRC Local 2.

CPS said they also took custody of the children because case investigators
believed the Jacksons were a flight risk.

The entire family underwent a new round of drug tests, in which all of the
results came back negative.

Hospital officials have not said where they obtained the original urine
sample that tested positive.

CPS has since dropped the case.

Zelma Jackson worked in patient services for Tulane Hospital and her was
husband, Marcel, a former military member, worked as a construction worker
in New Orleans.

Groups say prison not addicts' place

By John Davis
Montgomery Advertiser

Efforts to divert drug addicts and other nonviolent criminals away from state prisons are gaining momentum months before Alabama's 2006 legislative session.

On Monday, the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates the legalization of medical marijuana and policy changes in the way America deals with drug addicts, released "Alabama Prison Crisis: A Justice Strategies Policy Report."(pdf)

"Substance abuse is driving the prison crisis," said Kevin Pranis, an analyst with Justice Strategies, the New York-based nonprofit group commissioned to do the report.

The Drug Policy Alliance and the Sentencing Commission support voluntary sentencing guidelines for Alabama's judges and an expansion of community-based rehabilitation programs. The Justice Strategies report echoes some of the prison reform legislation now being vetted by Gov. Bob Riley and others.

"You look at the two sides and what they identify," said Rep. Locy Baker, D-Abbeville, on Monday as he joined a representative from the Drug Policy Alliance and others at a news conference announcing the report.

The Riley Administration has made reducing Alabama's prison population, now at twice the system's design capacity, a high priority.

Last week, Riley received recommendations from his 11-member Task Force on Prison Crowding. The committee has asked for at least nine bills in the next legislative session, including eight measures backed by the Alabama Sentencing Commission.

The task force recommendations include a sentencing reform bill that has failed twice in the Legislature, passing the House both times only to get bogged down in the Senate. The bill calls for voluntary sentencing standards for 26 felonies. Historically, the list of felonies covers 87 percent of convictions in Alabama

Riley has given preliminary support to the task force's recommendations and plans to put a copy of them in the hands of all 140 legislators. The Drug Policy Alliance likewise is distributing its report to the governor and Alabama lawmakers.

Alabama led the nation in reducing its prison population last year thanks to an accelerated parole program for nonviolent offenders. Now that the parole plan has run its course, the state prison population is on the rise again.

"It was only a stopgap measure," said Pranis, noting that more changes are needed to get prison growth under control.

Legislation to divert drug addicts away from state prisons and into community programs also has the support of the New Bottom Line Campaign, a coalition that supports sentencing reform.

"Addiction is a disease," said the Rev. Kenneth Glasgow of Dothan, co-director of the campaign. "It's not a crime."

Glasgow founded The Ordinary People Society, or TOPS, a religious-based nonprofit group that works with convicts and at-risk kids.

The Rev. Kobi Little of Selma, campaign co-director, decried the racial disparity of Alabama's prison population. Little cited figures in the Drug Policy Alliance report indicating that although blacks make up 26 percent of Alabama's residents, they constitute 60 percent of the state's inmate population.

"We're not substantively dealing with (drug addiction) as a public health problem," he said. Little, a resident of Selma, is the founder of the Institute for Theology and Social Justice