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Alabama AG Steve Marshall: New prison facilities ‘definitely important’ in pending case against Justice Department

Last December, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated long-threatened legal action against Alabama for its prison conditions, alleging they were in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.

Policymakers insist part of the solution to countering the suit is new prison construction, although some on the Democrat side of the aisle in the Alabama Legislature dispute that notion.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said new facilities were a necessary part of the case. During an appearance on Tuesday’s broadcast of Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Marshall explained how a plan could satisfy a federal judge presiding over the lawsuit.

“I think it is definitely important in the pending case that we have against the Department of Justice,” he said. “If we’re able to present to the judge that there is a plan in place to be able to deal with facility construction — it really is for two separate reasons. One of which is that we can share with the judge relating to the challenge about our ability to provide constitutionally grounded mental health care to the inmate population, that we have the facilities and the infrastructure in place to be able to do that. And then secondly, one of the allegations in the complaint has to do with concerns about inmate-on-inmate violence.”

Marshall continued, “If you look at the current facilities that we have in place, I think the argument can be made that we have a disproportionate amount of dormitory-style housing that would facilitate the opportunity for inmate — and remember we have a prison population that is 80% violent, that 42% of those that are there for murder, capital murder, rape, robbery — so we have a clear violent population in our prisons. But if we had the ability structurally to be able to segregate individuals in a more appropriate way, then we do additional measures for us to be able to push back against an argument that our facilities are not appropriate to keep individuals safe. So, I think it’s an important part of our strategy to be able to talk about to be able to hire sufficient staff, to be able to do the things we need to do.”

“And then beyond that, we’re able to show the judge factually that the evidence is there that Alabama met its responsibilities under the Constitution with regard to how it is we handle our corrections system,” he added

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.