Ivey signs $1.3 billion of prison infrastructure bills into law

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 1:13 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed several prison infrastructure bills into law Friday, ending a special session that was called in order to approve the $1.3 billion project.

“Folks, this is a pivotal moment for the trajectory of our state’s criminal justice system,” Ivey said in a news conference called at the Capitol.

Ivey was joined by Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, President Pro-Tempore Greg Reed, House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, Sen. Greg Albritton and Rep. Steve Clouse for the signing. Ivey signed the bills to build new prisons, provide funding and allow the state to use up to $400 million in federal COVID relief money as part of its funding.

“I think this will go a very long way in solving Alabama’s problem,” Albritton said. “I can’t tell you what the courts with their dockets and such, but this is the right thing for Alabama.”

Critics like the ACLU of Alabama’s JaTaune Bosby, however, called the special session’s results “disappointing” and said it was “reflective of how removed many of our elected officials are from the problems of our state.”

The signing comes after the Alabama Senate passed the prison infrastructure package earlier in the day, with one amendment to part of construction bill, HB4.

In all, the Senate passed three bills related to prison construction and one reform bill:

  • HB2 would release some inmates under the supervision of the pardon and parole board until the end of their sentence.
  • HB5 allows the state to use $400,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund prison construction.
  • HB6 also deals with funding, allowing the state to borrow up to $785 million through a bond issue and $150 million from the general fund.
  • HB4 deals with prison construction, including renovations and closures.

The Senate added an amendment to HB4 which removes the Hamilton Aged & Infirmed Center from the first list of facilities to close. The bill went back to the House Friday and was quickly approved for final passage.

The package includes the construction of a prison in Elmore County, including enhanced space for medical and mental health care needs. Another prison is proposed in Escambia and a women’s prison. Both Elmore and Escambia would hold at least 4,000 beds.

The plan also includes renovations to other existing facilities and the closure of six others.

Gov. Kay Ivey expressed her appreciation for the packages’ passage, which was approved by the House on Wednesday.

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

The House passed the package on Wednesday.

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.