MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP/WIAT) — Alabama is weighing using $400 million in pandemic relief funds to build new prisons.

Lawmakers on Monday begin a special session focused on a $1.3 billion prison construction plan that will use $400 million of state money from the American Rescue Plan.

Gov. Kay Ivey and Republican legislative leaders say the using the virus cash will save taxpayers’ money by reducing how much the state has to borrow. But critics argue that is not the intended use of the federal aid.

The Alabama prison construction proposal calls for at least three new prisons.