House Speaker McCutcheon: ‘Still questions’ on Ivey prison lease proposal — ‘But we’re willing to sit down and try to work with the governor’
At any moment, Gov. Kay Ivey could announce part of a much-anticipated long-term lease deal for two of three new proposed prisons for Alabama, which she maintained she has the authority to agree to without the consent of the Alabama Legislature.
House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) says there are still some outstanding questions about the deal but maintains he and the legislature are open to Ivey’s approach to solving Alabama’s prison problem, particularly now as it has come under the scrutiny of the Department of Justice.
During an interview that aired on Monday’s broadcast of Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” McCutcheon insisted he was willing to work with the governor’s office and warned that the State of Alabama should do its best to avoid a federal takeover the Alabama Department of Corrections.
“We’re continuing to meet with the governor’s office,” he said. “Originally, that was going to be a rollout plan that was going to come to us in the 2020 year. Here we are in 2021 and they’re still working on it. We’re continuing to meet with [Alabama Department of Corrections commissioner [Jeff] Dunn. We’re meeting with the governor. We’re looking at the numbers and the facts and the figures concerning that. The biggest question from the legislature has been a state-owned bond issue prison facility buildout versus a lease program through the governor’s office. There are still some questions out there that need to be answered but we’re willing to sit down and try to work with the governor, and see if we can get some answers to those questions.”
“But at the end of the day, there is no doubt — when we look at the Department of Justice, their discussions that they are having with the AG and the lawsuit that was filed, facilities are very important to moving us forward,” McCutcheon added. “And as a state, Jeff, we need to make sure that we are taking care of this problem from a state perspective. The last thing we want to do is have the federal government come in here and tell us what we have to be doing. And we feel like we can do this.”
McCutcheon mentioned improvements to Wetumpka’s Julia Tutwiler Women’s Prison, which has been under federal scrutiny in recent years, as evidence the State of Alabama capable of rectifying problems in other facilities as well.
@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.