Jim Zeigler to announce ‘discount’ prison plan without leases

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The deadline for investors to come aboard Gov. Kay Ivey’s prison lease plan is this Tuesday, June 1. 

State Auditor Jim Zeigler, an opponent of the plan, says “it appears investors will not sign on, and the plan will die a natural death Tuesday.”

Zeigler will speak Tuesday night in Northport, Alabama and will announce his own “discount” plan.   His “Operation Fresh Start” will be about 1/3 the cost of the Ivey plan and require approval of the Alabama legislature.

Zeigler’s prison speech to the Alabama Republican Assembly is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Front Porch Restaurant.  4421 Highway 43 N.  Northport, Al.  The public and media are invited.  No ticket or RSVP is needed.  He will release copies of his plan.

The Alabama Republican Assembly calls itself “the Republican wing of the Republican party.”  It will endorse candidates prior to the May 2022 Republican primary.   The Republican party itself does not endorse candidates until after nominees are chosen by voters in the primary.

Zeigler made this statement: 

“We believe that investors see the fatal flaws in this plan and will not touch it with a 10-foot pole. The three underwriters for the plan have withdrawn — Barclays, KeyBank and Stifel. The Ivey plan would contract with three consortiums of private businesses, two led by CoreCivic of Nashville.  The contractors would pay to build three super-prisons in Bibb, Elmore and Escambia Counties of Alabama.  Two of the contracts were signed Feb. 1 with the one in Bibb County pending.

“The Ivey plan would force Alabama taxpayers to pay rents starting at $94 million a year and going up to $106 million.  At the end of 30 years, the state would own equity in the prisons of zero.  No equity.  This is a bad business plan.”

“The Ivey plan does not address the problems in the prison system – safety of staff and other inmates; overcrowding; mental health; suicide; recidivism; and inadequate job training.  The plan merely throws over $3.6 billion of taxpayer money into rented buildings,” Zeigler concluded.