Where is the money coming from to pay for Governor Ivey’s prison plan?

Funding for new Alabama prisons

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - We’re asking new questions and tracking your tax dollars that would pay for Governor Ivey’s plan to build three mega prisons in the state.

Ivey announced her plans Tuesday, but we wanted to know where that money is coming from. The price tag is an estimated $900 million, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.

We reached out to state lawmakers. State Senator Cam Ward says the money won’t be coming out of your pockets.

“You’re going to pay for it through the closings of other prisons. We have about 19 prisons in Alabama and we’ll probably end up closing about 16 of those and the amount of money we spend on just maintenance and just keeping those facilities open is just outrageous, but they’re just so old, decrepit,” Ward said.

Ivey says the state could issue a bond which needs approval from lawmakers. Some lawmakers have questions and want to know why Tutwiler women’s prison isn’t included in the plan.

“It’s interesting to me that we don’t have a proposal on the table to rebuild the worst facility in Alabama. So if I’m asking any Alabamian if we’re going to invest money in new prisons, why not start with the worst and work your way up?” Representative Chris England from Tuscaloosa said.

Ivey said the state could hire a contractor to lease the prisons to the state. That would not require lawmaker approval.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is responding, too, saying they do not believe the plan addresses the roots of the problem.

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