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Gov. Ivey calls special session for prison construction

Governor Kay Ivey told state lawmakers Friday she is calling a special session on September 27...
Governor Kay Ivey told state lawmakers Friday she is calling a special session on September 27 to address building new prisons.(Storyblocks)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 3:09 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 3:13 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WBRC) - Governor Kay Ivey told state lawmakers Friday she is calling a special session on September 27 to address building new prisons.

In the letter to lawmakers Friday, Ivey said, “As I have stated before this is our moment-this Legislature and this Administration-to lead our state in a bipartisan manner to solve a problem that has plagued us for decades and that if not properly addressed, will continue to set us back for decades to come.”

Legislators say a plan is drafted. It includes building two new men’s prisons in Elmore and Escambia Counties and renovating the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. Once new buildings are ready, the state will reassess what other areas need to be addressed.

In a letter sent to lawmakers dated September 7, Ivey said: “As you know, the state of our current prison infrastructure is untenable,” Ivey wrote. “Many of our existing facilities face severe space constraints in providing important services such as mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and educational and vocational programs.”

She said with the conditions inside prisons, the state has “accrued more than $1 billion of deferred maintenance costs, and these costs will only continue to compound.”

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) released the following statement:

“The Governor is calling this special session to address an issue that has hung over the head of our state for decades. The Governor, along with House and Senate leadership, have worked together to develop a plan to finally tackle this problem once and for all, and to do so in a fiscally-conservative manner,” Reed said. “The stakes are high – without taking action on this issue, the federal government could take control of our prison system at a high cost to Alabama taxpayers, and could even result in the forced release of prisoners. It’s time to finally resolve this issue for the people of Alabama.”

WBRC News reporter Jennifer Horton recently completed an On Your Side Investigation on special legislative sessions and costs: https://www.wbrc.com/2021/08/09/your-side-taxpayers-foot-bill-possible-special-legislative-session/

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