Editorial: Prison Funding

Funding prisons isn't appealing to anyone.

It's a necessary cost you put up with to protect law abiding citizens.

Alabama dislikes it so much we fund our prisons at less than half the national average.

We have more than 25,000 prisoners at our 35 prisons statewide, double the number of designed occupancy.

On certain shifts, one guard is responsible for 300 prisoners while most times it is a 10 to one ratio.

The recently passed general fund budget saw budget cuts for the department of corrections.

Senators preferred to fund pork projects for their constituents.

Prisons now don't have enough money to cover basic operating expenses, inviting more problems.

The challenge will only be greater after next year, when the federal bailout money runs dry.

Increasing prison funding will take even more political will since many currently funded programs will need to be cut just to get a budget passed.

It clearly looks like a situation where we pay now, or pay later.