MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Some lawmakers are calling for more frequent updates from the Alabama Department of Corrections amid worsening staff shortages and inmate deaths.

Currently, the ADOC reports to the Joint Legislative Prison Oversight Committee quarterly. HB 18 would make it monthly.

Bill sponsor Rep. Chris England (D- Tuscaloosa) says more reports would give a better glimpse into what’s going on in Alabama’s prisons.

“Considering the issues that continue to plague our criminal justice system, now is just not the time to be less transparent,” England said.

Those issues he says include 266 inmate deaths in 2022, botched executions and an inmate release process that initially failed to notify victims.

This bill also comes as a federal judge Friday said the state’s prison system has had “horrendous understaffing,” and has lost more than 500 security staff employees over the last 18 months.

England says he’s confident this bill will pass.

“Absolutely. Anytime we can increase sunlight, create accountability and create transparency, that’s a very bipartisan thing, especially considering we’re dealing with the Alabama Department of Corrections,” England said.

Executive Director of Alabama Appleseed Carla Crowder says the organization would be happy to see more frequent reports but hopes they lead to improvements to the system.

“Our hope would be the information produced in these important reports would actually create action on the part of our state officials, and we don’t see that right now,” Crowder said.

Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R- Prattville) serves on that prison oversight committee. He says he hasn’t seen this bill yet but does have confidence in the ADOC.

He hopes lawmakers can help the agency address some of its issues when they meet this week.

“I am all ears on what they need for us to do for them to keep moving that in a positive direction,” Chambliss said. “Just from a personal standpoint, my personal opinion is we’re going to have to have safer working environments before we really get to the staffing levels that we need.”

The prison oversight committee has its first meeting of the year Wednesday. England and Chambliss say they expect to hear updates on not only staffing but where the state is at with its construction of two new prisons.