Governor’s prison study group begins looking at major issues

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Governor Kay Ivey announced last week, by executive order, she has established the Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy.

The primary purpose of this group is to receive and analyze accurate data, as well as evidence of best practices, ultimately helping to further address the challenges facing Alabama’s prison system.

The governor says her administration inherited decades-old, systemic problems in the state’s prison system, including overcrowding and understaffing.

The governor says she has consistently reminded the people of Alabama that reforming the prison system is a matter of public safety.

“I am very hopeful and optimistic that we are finally going to take a good comprehensive look at and issue that has plugged us now for decades,” said Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa). 

Governor Ivey attended the first meeting Monday to express her confidence in the group. 

“I’m confident, we have a great team, I appreciate them giving up their time to find things solutions,” said Gov. Ivey. 

Some of the areas of reform the group will look at are: sentencing guidelines, recidivism rates, and conditions inside the facilitates.

“I’ve toured ever prison in this state, and I can tell you how I know it’s overcrowded see it first hand,” said Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster). 

DOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn says the department is making improvements.

“We’re addressing the contraband, we’re addressing the violence issue, we’re addressing the inmate safety and the staff safety issues,” said Jeff Dunn. 

The group plans to meet again in August and plan to tour some of the state’s prisons. 

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