Last week, discussions in Montgomery continued about how to handle Alabama’s prison crisis but with a few additional wrinkles.
With members of the House of Representatives now involved, a new facility to replace Wetumpka’s Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women built in the 1940s, and the possible use of the under-utilized Perry County Correctional Facility that opened in 2006 could be part of the plan.
During an appearance on FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Friday, House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter discussed those possibilities and the use of pandemic relief money from the federal government as well.
“Nothing’s in concrete,” he said. “There could be deviation from that. You know, one thing is we’re looking at rehabbing a couple of prisons and maybe looking at a women’s prison. You know, the thing with the bond issue is the premium of the bond could be enough to build a women’s prison. I think that would be my hope, and I certainly think that’s a possibility. The other thing is, there is a possibility — we’ve been working with our finance folks — but there is a possibility that this new round of CARES Act — Alabama has been blessed. We’ve done extremely well during difficult times with the budgeting process. But the federal government allowed so much money in loss of revenues that was created by the pandemic. And those so there is a possibility that we could use that money to rehab some prisons. So, I think that’s very positive.”
“Of course, the Perry County facility is in play, too,” Ledbetter continued. “I think we can work to use it however we figure out to do. There’s some talk about a lease on it, some talk about buying it. I think with all those put together, I think we show good intent. I think we show the Department of Justice you ought to give us a little bit of leeway because it’s a complicated issue. I think it is difficult. It didn’t happen overnight. We’ve been working on it for some time. But we’re not going to fix it overnight. I feel good about the direction it is going. Can we get it done this quadrennium? I can’t answer that. So, we’ll see. We’ll continue working the process and see how it all pans out.”
@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.