ADOC provides update on construction of new prisons

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 7:20 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner, John Hamm, says construction on one of the state’s new mega prisons is underway. He says there are no sinkholes or construction stoppages.

The new Elmore Specialized Men’s Facility in Elmore County will be three times larger than the Limestone County Correctional Facility, which sits on 64 acres and is currently the largest in ADOC.

800 workers are working on the 200 acres of land in Elmore County.

“There’s been $350 million worth of work packages led on this project,” said Hamm.

The prison will have specialized mental health and medical areas. It will be a similar layout planned for the new prison in Escambia County.

“When will we start seeing something on the ground in Escambia County?” questioned Senator Clyde Chambliss, chair of the Legislative Joint Prison Oversight Committee.

“The design for the Elmore specialized men’s facility minus the huge medical and mental health portion is going to be the exact same design in Escambia, so waiting for that,” said Hamm. “It’s probably about 40% done.”

ADOC will have 8-thousand beds amongst all their facilities when complete. But this won’t address the state’s overcrowding problem.

“The overcrowding issue that we’re all aware of that will still be the same issue since there will still be the same number of beds.. right?” asked Representative Matt Simpson.

“Pretty much,” said Hamm. “The issue we have built by the state since the 80S they were these big dormitory campus style.”

The current number of ADOC security staff is around 1,800. Another problem, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, that won’t be solved with new buildings.

“Since I took over in January, we’ve been looking at a staffing hiring retention program,” said Hamm.

Hamm says the goal is an improved quality of life for inmates and prison staff.

The committee did discuss ways to reduce that population, including more medical furlough, the governor’s recent “Good Time” executive order, and supervised early release for certain inmates with less than a year on their sentence.

This prison committee plans to meet again on May 17th. Those are open to the public.

The legislative session starts on March 7th.

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