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On Friday's broadcast of Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal," Gov. Kay Ivey discussed the state of Alabama's prisons and the ongoing construction of other facilities in the state.

Alabama Prisons have been of concern for decades.

The Department Of Justice (DOJ) sued the state in 2020 for the conditions within the prison system.

Corruption within the prison staff, violence, murder, sexual assault, drugs, poor living conditions, dilapidated facilities, and overcrowding are just a few of the issues plaguing the state's prisons.

To correct these issues, the Alabama legislature voted in 2022 to use federal COVID-19 relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to construct several new prison facilities to address the concerns of the DOJ.

During the legislative debate on the ARPA funds, supporters touted the new facilities as a means by which the state's correctional woes would be corrected.

"We have one prison being built in Elmore [County]; it's expected to be finished by the first quarter of 2026, and then the Escambia County prison will be built shortly thereafter," Ivey said. "And when we get those two prisons built, we can provide rehabilitation to our prisoners in a better fashion, and we can give them vocational training, so they can get a job when they get out. At the same time, we've got crime going on in the prisons today, and Commissioner Hamm is doing a job at [Department of Corrections]. They just don't tolerate any kind of misbehavior, be it small misbehavior or large even a large one. So it's a hard nut to crack, but we are going to keep working and finding Alabama solutions on how to do that. But building the new prisons is a definitely have-to to give us the ability to rehabilitate and train."

According to Ivey, the prisons will not be up and running by 2026, which raises concerns that the DOJ will intervene before the proposed prisons become operational.

"We try to keep the federal courts apprised of what we are doing, and we are proud to work with them," Ivey said. "We recognize the problems, and we are working hard to solve them, so I think they'll be patient."

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

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