Thousands of new jobs expected as Alabama moves forward with massive prison construction plans
Montgomery, Ala. - Governor Kay Ivey announced the locations of the three new men’s prisons today along with the companies that the Alabama Department of Corrections will enter into leases with to pay for use of the facilities.
For years, Alabama’s leaders have discussed the need for new prisons as many are decaying and overfilled, resulting in safety issues both for the prisoners and prison guards. Under existing authority, Governor Ivey intends to have three new prisons built, with the savings from the closures of older prisons covering the leases and upkeep of the new facilities. Various lawsuits by the Southern Poverty Law Center against the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) have required the State to hire more guards and mental health officers, which proved difficult due to the low pay and high risk factors in the prisons.
According to the release from the Governor’s office, the ADOC intends to begin negotiations with the following developers to construct new facilities at the following proposed sites:
· Facility One: Alabama Prison Transformation Partners (Star America; BL Harbert International; Butler-Cohen; Arrington Watkins Architects; and Johnson Controls, Inc.) with a proposed site located near AL-139/CR-2 in Bibb County.
· Facility Two: CoreCivic (CoreCivic; Caddell Construction; DLR Group; and R&N Systems Design) with a proposed site in Elmore County (multiple locations under review; proposed site to be shared at a later date).
· Facility Three: CoreCivic (CoreCivic; Caddell Construction; DLR Group; and R&N Systems Design) with a proposed site located near Bell Fork Road in Escambia County.
“The Alabama Prison Program is vital for the long-term success of our state and communities. We all – legislators, advocates, and taxpayers, alike – can and should agree that we must rebuild Alabama’s correctional system from the ground up to improve safety for our state’s correctional staff and inmate population, and we must do it immediately,” Governor Ivey said. “Given the failing state of the ADOC’s existing infrastructure and that the Department already is faced with more than $1 billion in deferred maintenance costs alone, pursuing new construction without raising taxes or incurring debt is the fiscally sound and responsible decision. I am pleased with the integrity of this procurement process thus far and look forward to continuing to work closely with the legislature as we comprehensively address this intricate and important issue that affects us all.”
The new facilities are estimated to feature approximately 37 percent more programming space per inmate, as well as increased educational, training, and recreational/exercise space, which will provide a more meaningful experience for inmates and their visitors. The new facilities are also projected to have four-times more cell spaces than open dorms than the current facilities, which will reduce the potential for violent incidents, enhance safety for correctional officers and inmates, and improve quality of working conditions for staff.
The ADOC anticipates construction to begin in early 2021, and estimates that construction of the new facilities will create thousands of construction jobs: Facility One (Bibb County) – 2,900 construction jobs; Facility Two (Elmore County) – 3,900 construction jobs; and Facility Three (Escambia County) – 2,800 construction jobs.