State Sen. Albritton: Prison Repurposing Commission will give ideas, possibly find path to make ideas viable options for decommissioned prisons
Earlier this week, Gov. Kay Ivey announced she was establishing the Alabama Prison Repurposing Commission, which will “conduct a thorough evaluation of the Alabama Department of Corrections’ (ADOC) existing infrastructure.”
“The Commission will make recommendations as to which ADOC facilities should be retained and renovated as major correctional facilities, which could be renovated and repurposed for another use by the ADOC, and which should be repurposed to serve a new function, whether by another public entity or the private sector,” Ivey’s office said in a release with the announcement.
Among those named to the commission were State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), the chairman of the State Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee. He discussed the venture with FM Talk 106.5 radio in Mobile on Thursday.
“Frankly, this idea has come under fire, as everything comes under fire,” he said on “The Jeff Poor Show.” “But this does give a means so that people can take a look, and not only give ideas but possibly find a path that we can make the ideas into viable options, i.e., find the resources to make it happen. Does that make sense? I mean, we don’t want to go out and just put a sign up and say, ‘welcome target.’ We need to go out and put some monies into this, develop the infrastructure that’s needed and move forward — make it viable if you understand what I mean.”
“We have that infrastructure there, but you know what infrastructure is missing in most of these places — is internet,” Albritton continued. “Regardless if you have the finest sewer system in the world there, Amazon ain’t coming unless you’ve got internet. So, we’ve got to find a way to develop what we already have in place and enhance it by putting in 21st-century technology.”
Albritton also rattled off other amenities that were lacking near the sites of these facilities.
“You’ve got housing problems,” he added. “You’ve got school issues that are there. You’ve got shopping and quality of life [issues] that are there. You’ve got the whole gambit that we’ve got to address. This is an opportunity … to turn the focus on those rural areas and what those needs are in a true way that we need to find a development process.”
“We’ve got to look at things differently,” Albritton continued. “And sometimes it takes a shock to the system to find the means, the guts to look in a different direction.”
In addition to the governor’s Prison Repurposing Commission announcement, she also revealed the proposed locations for new prison construction. Included among those was a proposed site located near Bell Fork Road in Escambia County, which is in Albritton’s State Senate District 22.
Albritton declined to comment on the location.
“I’m not going to comment on that because there are negotiations that are underway, and I’m hoping that the parties can work out the details without weighing in on anything at this point,” he advised.
@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.