MONTGOMERY, Ala (WIAT) — Gov. Kay Ivey is giving more insight into a meeting she recently held with lawmakers to develop a new plan for the state’s troubled prison system.
On Thursday, Ivey told reporters the meeting was an open and honest discussion about how to solve the issues, which include old, dilapidated facilities and a lack of mental health resources for inmates.
“The biggest thing that came out of yesterday was a firm consensus that we’ve got to fix our prisons,” Ivey said.
Alabama is also facing a federal lawsuit over inmate conditions. Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, is chairman of the Senate General Fund Budget Committee.
“I came away with an optimism that now is the time that we’re going to be able to resolve it,” Albritton said.
He believes that since the Ivey’s plan to lease three mega prisons from a private developer fell through, lawmakers are now ready to tackle the issue and solve it once and for all.
“The mental health, the medical, the hiring even and also the conditions, get all those resolved in one, clean sweep,” he said.
Albritton made it clear that all funding options are on the table, from financing through bonds, extra money from the state general fund budget and even money from the latest round of federal stimulus funding.
“Personally, I think we have a much better opportunity of using this money, or a portion thereof for renovating. It’s possible that we can use this for construction, but that’s less clear, I think,” he said.
Lawmakers are also looking at possibly purchasing the plans, data and studies created by the company Core-Civic when it was developing the governor’s leasing plan.
Ivey and lawmakers are scheduled to meet again on the prison issue in two weeks.