Understaffed and outnumbered: the state of Alabama prisons - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Understaffed and outnumbered: the state of Alabama prisons

(Source: WSFA) (Source: WSFA)
(WAFF) -

The Alabama state prison system is under federal investigation after a number of riots, health concerns and acts of violence. 

In some instances, even fatal. 

The head of the state's prison system, Commissioner Jeff Dunn, believes proposed legislation is the long-term fix Alabama needs. 

The Alabama Prison Transformation Act seeks to construct and consolidate a prison system that is easier to manage. 

“[The Act] improves conditions dramatically, it gets our overcrowding to a number that is manageable," said Dunn. "It increases our ability to provide rehabilitation to the inmates.“

READ MORE: Commissioner addresses staffing problems at Alabama prisons

The $800 million bond will mean the construction of four new super prisons. 

14 existing facilities will be shut down. 

However, this solution takes time.

“I'm going to ask those folks to hang in there," said Dunn. 

READ MORE: Lieutenant assaulted with weapon at Holman Correctional Facility

“We have officers overseeing a dormitory of over 100 inmates at a time. And that’s a concern”

The 100 to 1 staffing model has created a number of problems. The state has responded by deploying reinforcements from other prisons, but the extra help only provides a short-term solution. 

“We are just robbing Peter to pay Paul because the department is stretched thin staffing wise," said Dunn. 

Dunn says the new prisons plan will help protect these officers, but help is at least a legislative session away.

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