Prison Construction Bill Shrinking Before Committee Vote

Mar 2, 2017

Overcrowding at St. Clair Correctional Facility near Springville, Ala.
Credit Equal Justice Initiative

The lawmaker sponsoring Gov. Robert Bentley's $800 million prison construction plan says the bill will most likely be scaled down before heading to a committee vote next week.

Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster says the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote next Tuesday on a smaller version. He says senators are currently working out the bill's specifics.

Bentley was seeking to build four new prisons. Ward says the new proposal will still be substantial.

The committee delayed a vote after their hearing yesterday in order to continue negotiations on the bill. Governor Bentley’s legislative director Wesley Helton says his administration is working with legislators to draft the best proposal they can.

Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told lawmakers in yesterday’s hearing that something "catastrophic" could happen in state prisons if the level of prison overcrowding is not addressed.