Facing court order, prison system seeks funding increase

Facing court order, prison system seeks funding increase

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama prison system is asking lawmakers for an additional $80 million over the next two years to boost staffing and comply with a federal court order to improve mental health care to inmates.

Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told lawmakers Thursday that the system needs a $30 million supplement this year and a $50 million increase in 2019.

A federal judge last year ruled Alabama's psychiatric care of state inmates is "horrendously inadequate" and ordered the state to improve conditions. Dunn said an expanded health care contract will cost about $36 million annually.

The prison chief said officer staffing is about half of what it should be despite recruitment efforts. He said the system could need as many as 1,000 new corrections officers.

Dunn made the comments in budget hearings.

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