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State Sen. Beasley on new prison deal: ‘I want Barbour County and Bullock County to be protected’

Signs continue to point to a solution for Alabama’s long-standing prison dilemma, which could come during a legislative special session in a matter of weeks.

On the table is the future of three Alabama Department of Corrections facilities in eastern Alabama in Bullock and Barbour Counties: Easterling Correctional Facility in Clio, Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton and the Bullock Correctional Facility in Union Springs.

State Sen. Billy Beasley (D-Clayton), whose district is home to all three of those facilities, explained why it was important to his district that those three facilities remain where they during an appearance on this week’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal.”

Beasley warned if those facilities were to close, they would set the cities of Clayton, Clio and Union Springs back by abandoning an obligation to those localities’ water and sewer infrastructure.

“You know, the mayor of Clayton, the mayor of Clio — I’m not sure about Bullock County,” he said, “Governor Wallace’s last term in ’82 — sometime in ’86, the mayor of Clayton and Clio met with the Governor and delegation from Clayton to recruit the prisons for our towns for jobs. Bullock County was open prior to Ventress in Clayton, Easterling in Clio, but they’re all three entities that are important in our towns. If they were to close, it would put a devastation on the towns because the town of Clayton has expended a lot of money to improve the water treatment facility, and the prison is the number one customer. Same thing with Clio and the same thing with Union Springs.”

“I want Barbour County and Bullock County to be protected,” Beasley added. “The three facilities in my district are three of the four of the last ones to be built. The facility in Bibb County is the last facility to be built. It’s just important to the sustainability of Clayton and Clio and Union Springs to have prisons in those towns.”

@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.