Reportedly, the state’s top policymakers are on the verge of finalizing an agreement that would work toward solving Alabama’s prison woes.
Governor Kay Ivey is expected to call a special session within the next few weeks, which would give the legislature the opportunity for an up-or-down vote on the proposal.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” State Senate President Pro-Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) acknowledged the tenets of the solution were developed but said there were still details to work through.
“A comprehensive plan has been worked on and developed,” he said. “Now, we’re hammering out the issues of how much of that comprehensive plan are we going to be able to do in an initial step, and what will that cost to accomplish that. How will we come up with the resources to be able to do that? And so, that process has been ongoing.”
“I’m very appreciative of the attitude of the membership in really digging into this topic for one that is a topic that we’ve got to come to a conclusion on,” Reed continued. “I think that as we move through the next several weeks, we’re going to continue to meet, continue to have discussions, and I think we will come to a conclusion that is going to be acceptable to the Senate, the House and the Governor’s administration on a way that we can at least lay out what our problems and challenges are, and then look for a way to address the initial elements of it of this problem in a way that begins to satisfy the courts’ requirements and puts us in a better place.”
Reed laid out his caucus’ legislative priorities on the issue, which he said, in part, was to keep dangerous criminals off the streets.
“The one thing we’ve got to do as we think about this — number one, we’ve got to have a circumstance that allows bad people to stay in prison for the good of the people of the state of Alabama,” he said. “Number two, we’ve got to find a solution because the worst-case scenario would be the Biden administration, the federal government taking control of Alabama’s prison system, as has happened in other states through the legal maneuvers of telling us what we are supposed to do. We can’t let that happen. We’re going to have to come up with an Alabama solution to these issues, and I think we’re going to a good place.”
Some Democrats and other left-of-center activists have vociferously opposed new prison construction. Reed acknowledged the potential differences in approach but said it was his hope the two parties would work together.
“I hope that the minority members are going to continue to be engaged and involved,” he said. “That is my hope. We’ve done everything to make that the case. This is not a Republican or Democrat problem. It’s an Alabama problem. We’re all going to have to work together to try to come to a conclusion.”
“You’re correct, Jeff, that different folks look at this problem and this issue in different ways,” Reed added. “Even in my own caucus, as the Republicans, we look at different elements and different issues related to it. But we’re going to have to work together in a collaborative way to find a good solution. And again, I think we’re moving in that direction with the engagement and involvement from both House and Senate and gubernatorial administration, as well as Republicans and Democrats.”
@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.