Ivey to sign 2 mega-prison lease agreements, possibly Monday

Updated: Jan. 29, 2021 at 4:05 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Despite growing pressure against it from some groups, as well as lawmakers who want to see more specifics on the plan’s costs, Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said Friday she will soon sign leasing agreements on new mega prisons.

“It is our expectation the governor, on Monday, will sign lease agreements to lease two new men’s correctional facilities to be constructed by CoreCivic’s developer team,” Ivey’s press secretary, Gina Maiola, said.

The pending lease approvals come months after Ivey and Alabama Department of Corrections released the names of the developer teams that would build three proposed new mega-prisons.

The governor’s plan calls for building three new mega-prisons and paying for them through cost savings from the closures of other prison facilities. The proposed sites are in Bibb, Elmore and Escambia counties with CoreCivic involved with the latter two.

Ivey’s office said in September that the developers are aware the state has an $88 million affordability limit for the annual lease payments. That’s per year for all three facilities, and the state does not intend to increase that limit year-over-year, Maiola said at the time.

The Associated Press reports that legislators like Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa, want more details on the plan since it will be the responsibility of the legislature to make up for any shortfall.

Meanwhile, the ACLU of Alabama issued a statement saying the state’s prisons “are unconstitutional not because they are in need of repair, but because the ADOC is the most dysfunctional department of corrections in America, and added “Are we supposed to believe that the same department that got us into this mess will run functioning prisons just because they get new buildings?”

“We hoped it would have been sooner, but we are working as quickly as possible to get the best possible deal for the state,” Maiola explained, adding that more details will be released after Ivey “put[s] pen to paper.”

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. The Associated Press contributed. All rights reserved.