Part of the prison proposal set to be discussed in next week’s special session of the Alabama Legislature is the state’s purchase of the long-discussed Perry County Correctional Center just east of Uniontown on U.S. Highway 80.
The 700-plus bed facility is owned by GEO Group and has been mostly unoccupied since its construction was completed back in 2006.
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Bureau of Pardons and Parole Director Cam Ward said the facility would need very little work if the legislature approves a package that would allow for the state to purchase it.
“I was just there yesterday,” he explained. “It was built in 2006. It was a very new facility — very little because the people that you would put in there are who are currently on parole anyway. They’re already on parole. Maybe they’ve got a technical violation. Rather than send them back to prison, you send them to a drug rehabilitation mental health facility.”
“Very little work needs to be done on it, but I think it’s going to be a big win for the state,” Ward continued.
One of the criticisms of the facility in the past has been given its relatively isolated location, in the heart of the Alabama Black Belt, staffing could be a challenge.
However, Ward says his agency is well-positioned to handle staffing for the facility.
“I think that’s where we come into play,” he said. “We’re in a very unique position, my agency, to make this work because we have 62 to 64 field offices all over the state. And one of my goals has always been why don’t we consolidate field offices and have more folks working out in the field or individual people supervising them. So, by consolidating areas, we have in the five or six counties surrounding that, six or seven field offices — why not consolidate to one building — that’s how you provide the staff.”
“The staff is already in the area,” Ward added. “You’ve just got to consolidate to that one facility.”
@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.