Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said a plan to borrow $800 million to build four new state prisons will be his most important goal during the 2017 legislative session, reports AL.com. Last year, the governor proposed borrowing $800 million through a bond issue to build four new state prisons, three prisons for men and a replacement for Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. Thirteen of the 15 existing men’s prisons would close.
Versions of the plan passed both the House and Senate last year, but failed to win final approval. Bentley said he plans to introduce a similar proposal that will incorporate some changes proposed by lawmakers last year. Bentley and Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn say the plan to build four new prisons, called the Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative, would be the most cost effective way to alleviate the overcrowding, under-staffing, and other problems. Modern prisons could operate safely with fewer corrections officers because of smarter designs and improved technology, Dunn said. Dunn and Bentley say new prisons would better accommodate education, vocational training, and substance abuse treatment programs that help inmates succeed after release.