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Ivey officially calls special session for prisons, criminal justice reform

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 3:17 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey has officially called a special session of the Alabama Legislature to tackle prison infrastructure replacement and modernization as well as some specified criminal justice reform bills.

On Thursday, Ivey released an outline of what legislators will address during the session, which will start at 4 p.m. on Monday.

Legislators will consider a bond bill to finance the prison modernization plan that would be capped at $785 million. Legislators would also be tasked with considering supplemental appropriations for the plan through up to $154 million in funds from the state general fund and up to $400 million from the federal American Rescue Plan.

The plan calls for the state to do the following:

  • Build a new men’s prison on state-owned land in Elmore County
  • Build a new women’s prison on state-owned land in Elmore County
  • Build a new men’s prison on state-owned land in Escambia County
  • Renovation of existing prisons in Jefferson, Limestone and either Barbour or Bullock counties
  • Additionally, legislators can require the state to lease or purchase the existing prison facility in Perry County using state general fund appropriations

As for the criminal justice reform bills, Ivey’s call for a special session gives lawmakers the option to consider legislation that would allow currently incarcerated inmates who committed non-violent crimes before adoption of the state’s 2013 sentencing standards to be retroactively resentenced.

The special session will also allow legislators to address mandatory supervision for certain inmates who are nearing their release date.

Legislators will be limited to discussing and voting only on the matters outlined in the governor’s proclamation unless each chamber reaches a two-thirds vote to consider other matters.

“I am pleased and extremely hopeful that we are finally positioned to address our state’s prison infrastructure challenges,” the governor said. “I appreciate the hard work of the legislative leadership and the many members who have worked diligently with my team to put us in position for a bipartisan proposal. While this issue was many years in the making, we stand united to provide an Alabama solution to this Alabama problem.”

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