The Alabama prison system is seeking to avoid fines for failing to comply with a court order to remove inmates from county jails. A state attorney told the state supreme court yesterday that prisoners are not liable because the legislature did not adequately fund the system, the Associated Press reports.
A lawyer for county sheriffs argued that fines give state officials an incentive to follow court orders. A Montgomery County judge has ordered the state to pay $26 a day per inmate for failing to remove state prisoners from county jails within 30 days of their sentencing. The state has run up millions of dollars in unpaid fines.
Deputy Attorney General Scott Rouse said that state is in compliance after transferring nearly 2,000 inmates to private prisons in Mississippi and Louisiana. Last December, 1,700 inmates were in county jails beyond the 30-day limit.