Tag: Alabama prisons
Two Alabama construction companies could be in the best position to get state contracts to build two men’s prisons under a proposal lawmakers are now weighing.
Montgomery-based Caddell and Birmingham-based BL Harbert were both part of teams expected to build prisons under Gov. Kay Ivey’s earlier plan to lease from private developers three new facilities. That plan fell apart in the spring, but some legislative leaders say Caddell and Harbert have been vetted and put in the groundwork to quickly move on construction, if the Legislature can pass a bill that includes borrowing as much as $785 million.
“It would be problematic if we tried to move out and get somebody else,” Sen. Greg Albritton, who has helped lead discussions on new prisons over the summer, said. “(These companies) are in the best position to do this work.”
Alabama House Republicans met for more than two hours Wednesday to discuss their potential support and concerns about draft legislation to build new prisons and renovate old ones using a combination of state, federal and borrowed funds.
According to legislative leaders, the first phase of the plan includes building two new men’s prisons at a total cost of $1.2 billion, with a third of that potentially coming from federal stimulus funds and a significant amount borrowed in a bond issue. Read more.
The Association of County Commissions of Alabama is asking for a $10 million reimbursement from the state for the increased strain on county jails taking care of state inmates.
The association approved a resolution last week requesting Gov. Kay Ivey and the state Legislature to “retroactively reimburse county governments for their extended care of an increased number of State-responsible inmates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a consequence of the Alabama Department of Corrections’ decision to drastically reduce its intake activities in 2020 and 2021.”
The reimbursement amount is for the time from Jan. 1, 2021, to July 31, 2021, and accounts for all counties, Abby Fitzpatrick, director of communication and engagement for the association, told Alabama Daily News.
MONTGOMERY – Summer discussions between lawmakers and Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration on how to fix the state’s crowded and crumbling prisons have entered the draft legislation phase.
Officials aren’t talking publicly about the details, but Ivey said she’s “encouraged” by the work done so far.
A draft bill prepared at the State House calls for new and renovated prison infrastructure over a 10-year period.
“While there has yet to be a final plan in terms of legislation, I’m encouraged by the progress being made from the ongoing discussions with the Legislative leadership,” Ivey told Alabama Daily News in a written statement. “For several months, they have engaged with our team, and I can assure the people of Alabama that we are like-minded and laser-focused on finding a solution to our decades-long problem within our correctional facilities. I’m extremely hopeful they are on the right-track, and I am encouraged by their holistic approach to this issue.”
MONTGOMERY – A new state commission studying how to help released inmates stay out of prison spent much of a meeting Wednesday working on a definition of recidivism that all state agencies can use.
One of the goals of the Joint Commission on Reentry is to create a definition so the state can implement best practices to aid those leaving prisons and create a safer Alabama.
Cam Ward, director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Parole, said during the meeting that since every state agency defines recidivism differently, it is a nearly impossible task to settle on a singular meaning and mission.
Alabama fiscal leaders should soon know how much of the state’s federal COVID-19 relief funds can replace lost revenue and potentially fund new prisons. Read more.
State leaders are now discussing building two new prisons and renovating others in an effort to improve the state’s dangerous and crowded correctional system.
Legislative and Alabama Department of Corrections leaders met Thursday in Montgomery for the third time in less than a month to discuss options. Another meeting is scheduled for next week, Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, told Alabama Daily News. Read more.
Gov. Kay Ivey and some legislative leaders met Wednesday to discuss possible next steps after the governor’s proposal to lease three new men’s prisons stalled earlier this month.
“No decisions were made today; this was simply an opportunity for an update on where we are and what needs to happen, going forward with respect to improving our prison infrastructure,” Ivey said in a written statement.
The meeting included Ivey, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn, Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, and the Legislature’s two General Fund budget chairmen. Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, and Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range.
Officials did not disclose the details of what was discussed, but called the meeting productive and the first of several. Lawmakers earlier this year balked at a nearly $3 billion price tag on Ivey’s 30-year prison lease plan and said they’d largely been excluded from discussions.
As the clock ran out on Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan to lease new prisons, several lawmakers say they want to consider using some of the more than $2 billion in new federal Coronavirus relief money on improved prison infrastructure.
Earlier this year, Ivey signed lease agreements with Tennessee-based CoreCivic to build two large men’s prisons. Tuesday was the deadline for those agreements to be final and Ivey confirmed to reporters Wednesday that the lease route is no longer an option as support from potential underwriters has fallen away.
“To that end, my team and I will meet with legislative leaders again in the coming days to review all that we have learned through this process thus far, including the complexity and depth of the multi-faceted challenge at-hand,” Ivey said in a statement. “Anyone who is serious about these issues understands that replacing our failing prison infrastructure with safer, more secure facilities that accommodate the rehabilitation of incarcerated people is essential. It is not a question of if this will happen, but how. Read more.
More prison debate:
As the clock runs down on Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan to lease new prisons, several lawmakers say they want to consider using some of the more than $2 billion in new federal coronavirus relief money on improved prison infrastructure.
Earlier this year, Ivey signed lease agreements with Tennessee-based CoreCivic to build two large men’s prisons. Tuesday was the deadline for those agreements to be final, but CoreCivic’s funding has been in jeopardy as support from potential underwriters as fallen away.
Meanwhile, lawmakers have signaled to Ivey they want another crack at a state-funded prison plan.
Alabama budget makers and leaders are continuing to lay the groundwork for the distribution and spending of Rescue Plan funds. The state this summer will start seeing some of the more than $4 billion allocated to it and local governments in the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act. Separately, there is nearly $2 billion going to K-12 schools in the Rescue Plan.