RESPONSE TO PRISON PROBLEMS IS TO BUILD MORE PRISONS
re has committed to building two “super-size” correctional facilities; despite the nearly $1 billion price tag. $400 million from the federal pandemic relief fund money to start the project, according to the Associated Press.
The first project in Elmore County jumped from the estimated $623 million to $973 million which was increased by the Alabama Corrections Institution Finance Authority in early March, the March 16 article said.
“I had been warned about the increase of cost recently. We didn’t see that coming when we first voted on the bond money,” said Representative Rex Reynolds who is chair of the House general fund committee.
House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter noted the state will continue to go forward with the project in the wake of the inflation.
“I wish it wasn’t there, but as you know, inflation has hit is pretty hard over the last few months and that’s certainly a reflection of that. I mean, there might be some adjustments along the way, but, as you all know, we’ve got to do something,” referring to the state’s crowded prison crisis.
A lawsuit filed against Alabama by the U.S. Department of Justice accused the state of violating the constitutional rights of incarcerated men in their prisons “riddled with prisoner-on-prisoner and guard-on-prisoner violence.”
In 2021 Alabama approved a $1.3 billion dollar plan to build both the Elmore County and the Escambia County sites.
In a report by the DOJ, dilapidated prison facilities were a contributing factor to this but other concerns such as management deficiencies, corruption and other violence also needed to be addressed to resolve these issues, according to the AP.
“Actual prison construction hasn’t started yet but we are already up to a billion dollars. We haven’t even started talking about paying for the second prison yet.
“Add this to the $1 billion we are spending on a prison healthcare contract. This is not sustainable,” said Democratic Representative Chris England in a tweet.