Alabama’s Prison Plan Moves Forward
Day two of Alabama’s Special Legislative Session to address prisons was filled with committee meetings and public hearings, advancing the measure forward
Alabama will use $400 million in pandemic relief funds to build three new prisons, overhaul others, and decommission select facilities.
Lawmakers on Monday begin a special session focused on a $1.3 billion prison construction plan that will use $400 million of state money from the American Rescue Plan.
Critics of this plan say that new buildings alone will not fix the issues within Alabama prisons.
At the House Ways and Means committee meeting on Tuesday, one lawmaker said that pardon and parole needs an overhaul, stating that ” Alabama pretty much never grants parole.”
On Monday, Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who is chairman U.S. House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department, urging it to stop Alabama from using coronavirus relief money to build new prisons.
“Directing funding meant to protect our citizens from a pandemic to fuel mass incarceration is, in direct contravention of the intended purposes of the ARP legislation and will particularly harm communities of color who are already disproportionately impacted by over-incarceration and this public health crisis,” Nadler wrote. “The ARP is a historic effort to provide urgent assistance in a time of great suffering. It should not be used to worsen our national problem of over-incarceration.”
Gov. Kay Ivey had this response:
“The fact is, the American Rescue Plan Act allows these funds to be used for lost revenue and sending a letter in the last hour will not change the way the law is written. These prisons need to be built, and we have crafted a fiscally conservative plan that will cost Alabamians the least amount of money to get to the solution required. While our prison infrastructure is broken, our ability to govern is not.”