Substitute bill offered to build 3 new AL prisons for $775M - Montgomery Alabama news.

Substitute bill offered to build 3 new AL prisons for $775M

(Source: WSFA 12 News file photo) (Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)

Details are coming into focus about a substitute prisons bill that's making its way through the legislative process in the Alabama statehouse.

The substitute to SB59 totals 50 pages and brings the price tag down from the governor's $800 million plan to $775 million. The price reductions come from renovations at existing prison facilities and construction of just three new prisons. Gov. Bentley proposed four new mega-prisons.

Under the new bill, local communities would have the option to build local prisons, to Alabama Department of Corrections standards, which ADOC would then lease. Each local facility built and leased would reduce the amount of bond money available for the state prison construction by $225 million.

The bill reads, in part:

"It is the intent of the Legislature to authorize the several counties and municipalities in the state effectively to form public corporations whose corporate purpose shall be to provide buildings, facilities, and other property for lease to and use by the United States of America...for lease to and use by the State of Alabama acting through the [ADOC] as a prison facility..."

The bill would pledge a portion of the one mill ad valorem tax and a portion of the tax on spirits and liquors levied under existing law to secure the bonds.

Half of the money from the tax would be deposited in the State Treasury to be distributed as follows:

  1. A sum equal to the amount necessary to pay the principal of an interest on bonds issued by the Alabama Corrections Institution Finance Authority.
  2. The remainder shall be distributed to the credit of the public welfare trust fund and shall be used for general welfare purposes and is hereby appropriated therefore.  The remainder of such proceed shall be deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of a special fund which shall be designated the Special Mental Health Fund and shall be used only for mental health purposes.

All prison facility construction would be done by prison labor, according to the bill, or if such work is not suitable for prison labor, it would be done by bid process.

The bill also calls for consolidation of all operations at medium or higher custody male inmates into no more than six independent facilities after the three regional prison facilities are up and running. The limitation would not apply if the future male inmate population increases above 125 percent of design capacity.


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