In keeping with promises made during his recent “State of the State” address, Gov. Robert Bentley announced plans Tuesday to reform Alabama’s overwhelmed prison system.
The Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative Act (APTIA), which will outline the closing of Alabama’s current prisons and the construction of “four modern efficient prison facilities,” will be announced Tuesday and carried by Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) and Sen. Trip Pittman (R-Montrose) in the House and Senate, respectively.
“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,” Bentley said in a press release. “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 Alabama’s prisons are aged and inefficient, which increases the costs associated with maintenance and repair. Because the outdated facilities don’t provide in-house medical care, additional costs for prisoner transported are also associated with the outdated prisons.
The new plan would “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 plan will also provide for $800 million in bonds over 30 years, which is said to be reimbursable from the savings the ADOC will see because of the new prison system.
The four facilities will include three men’s facilities able to house “at least” 3,500 prisoner each. Construction is slated to begin next year and will be completed within three years.