MONTGOMERY—Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday announced the introduction of the Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative Act. The legislation will provide for the construction of four modern, efficient prison facilities.
“We have made significant progress over the last year to improve our criminal justice system, and with the construction of four new and modern prisons, Alabama is poised to be a national leader in safe and effective incarceration of inmates,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “We cannot move our state forward without addressing the issues that have plagued the prison system for decades. We have a good plan to address the issues and with the partnership of the Alabama Legislature, we can solve the issues and make the Department of Corrections more efficient.”
Many of the state’s current prison facilities were built decades ago. The age and design of the facilities are causing inefficiencies in the operation of the prison system, including increasing costs of maintaining and repairing the facilities, increasing costs of transporting inmates from prison to medical care facilities, increasing correctional and support staff costs because of the geographic disparity of the system and the antiquated design of the prison facilities, and increasing medical costs due to inefficiencies in delivering medical services to inmates.
The purpose of the Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative Act is to reduce overcrowding and improve safety conditions for inmates and corrections officers, allow for additional inmate re-entry programs and to improve operational practices and procedures for the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). The legislation allows for the issuance of up to $800 million bonds for up to 30 years by the Alabama Corrections Institutions Finance Authority with the debt service on these bonds to be paid from savings within the annual budget of ADOC. The three men’s facilities will be designed to house at least 3,500 inmates. This initiative is part of Governor Bentley’s Great State 2019 Plan.
The legislation is sponsored by State Representative Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) and State Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose).
“This prison transformation legislation is yet another example of our commitment to continued efficiency in state government,” Rep. Steve Clouse said. “It will not only save taxpayer dollars, but it also addresses important issues plaguing our prison system. This bold reform measure reinforces our commitment to addressing this matter once and for all.”
“This initiative represents a way to remedy some of the long standing issues with Alabama’s prisons,” Sen. Pittman said. “We have before us an opportunity to better serve the citizens of Alabama by operating our prison facilities with a higher level of efficiency through consolidation and increased capacity.”
Construction of the three regional men’s facilities and one female facility should begin in the fall of 2017 and is expected to be completed within three years.
“The Prison Transformation Initiative Act creates a new approach to Corrections in Alabama. By using modern, state-of-the-art design, the new, more efficient, correctional facilities will improve the security and safety of staff and inmates and provide increased capability to offer rehabilitation and re-entry services aimed at reducing recidivism,” Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said.
A copy of the legislation to be introduced Tuesday can be found here.
Photos of the event can be found here.
Provided by the Office of the Governor of Alabama | governor.alabama.gov