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Association of County Commissions head Brasfield: ‘The state has already got a mega-prison — It’s called the county jails’

As the Ivey administration continues to be confronted with obstacles to solving the state’s prison dilemma, law enforcement in all 67 counties is suffering in the meantime.

Inmates that have long since been sentenced to time in state prisons remain in county jails as the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) sorts through problems dealing with COVID-19 and issues tied to the neglect of state facilities that are as a result incapable of accepting new inmates.

Association of County Commissions of Alabama executive Sonny Brasfield told Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5 that the problem has been a constant and suggested that county jails are already shouldering the burden that one of the three mega-prisons Gov. Kay Ivey has proposed would if constructed.

“We used to say there were two things certain in life — death and taxes,” he said. “I think there are three things certain in Alabama — death, taxes and state inmates backed up in county jails. I worked for the counties for 33 years, and that’s an area I have to admit I haven’t done a very productive job. It’s a horrible problem. I think we’ve talked about it on our visits before during the COVID issues. But I don’t see things improving very much. Even now, I think all of us travel around and see things getting back to normal in so many, many ways, but we still have about 3,500 state inmates. There’s a lot of talk about building mega-prisons, and I’ve started saying the state has already got a mega-prison, and it’s called the county jails because we’re holding about as many inmates as the state would plan to put in one of those facilities.”

Brasfield pointed to a law set to take effect early next year that would force the ADOC to accept inmates from county jails sentenced to a state facility.

“[A]t some point, somebody in leadership at the Department of Corrections has to say these are our inmates and taking these inmates is a priority,” he stated. “The legislature passed a bill for us that takes effect January 1. When that new law takes effect, Jeff, the law will say that after the 30th day, the sheriff shall transfer custody to the state of Alabama. About 25 sheriffs had a call this week. They are counting the days down to January 1.”

@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.

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