Gov. Ivey signs lease agreements for 2 new mega prisons in Elmore, Escambia counties

Alabama News

Gov. Kay Ivey gives the State of the State Address to a joint session of the Alabama Legislature on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in the old house chamber of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Corrections have signed agreements to lease two new men’s correctional facilities in Elmore and Escambia counties.

The new mega prisons will be built by CoreCivic’s Developer team, which includes Caddell Construction, DLR Group and R&N Systems Design. Through the lease agreement, one facility, specializing in inmate medical and mental health needs, will be built on Rifle Range Road in Tallassee. A second facility will be built on Bell Fork Road in Atmore.

The Elmore County facility will be leased through Government Real Estate Solutions of Central Alabama, LLC while the the Escambia property will be leased through Government Real Estate Solutions of South Alabama, LLC. Both groups are CoreCivic entities.

Construction on the Elmore County and Escambia County facilities will begin later this year. The two facilities will provide approximately 7,000 beds and are expected to be ready for occupancy in 2025 once construction is completed. While the ADOC will operate and staff the facilities, CoreCivic will provide ongoing facility and infrastructure maintenance and is responsible for life-cycle replacement costs through the duration of the lease term.

“I am pleased that we have reached this important milestone in the Alabama Prison Program, the cornerstone of a multifaceted strategy to address the ADOC’s longstanding challenges and failing prison infrastructure,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a written statement. “ADOC’s existing dilapidated infrastructure is failing at a rate of one facility every two years, exorbitant deferred maintenance costs are rising by the day, and the Courts may act imminently if real progress is not made soon – given all these risks, there is not one minute to spare.”

“Leasing and operating new, modern correctional facilities without raising taxes or incurring debt is without question the most fiscally responsible decision for our State, and the driving force behind our Alabama Solution to an Alabama Problem,” Ivey added. “We are improving public safety, providing better living and working conditions, and accommodating inmate rehabilitation all while protecting the immediate and long-term interests of the taxpayers. This is simply the best path forward.”

“It is no secret that, due to decades of inaction and a lack of resources, our correctional system is at a crossroads. Thanks to Governor Ivey’s vision, tenacity, and leadership, we have reached an important step in our continued work to chart a transformative new course for the Department,” ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn said in the statement. “Leasing, staffing, and operating modernized prison infrastructure that is owned and strictly maintained by the private sector minimizes our short- and long-term risk for an initiative of this necessary magnitude. These facilities will provide a safer, more secure environment in which our heroic staff can better deliver effective, evidence-based rehabilitative programming to our inmate population.”

CoreCivic is one of the country’s largest private prison firms and with over 116 prison and detention facilities nationwide.

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