MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama lawmakers continue to work to come up with a fix for Alabama’s overcrowded, understaffed prison system. The U.S. Department of Justice put the state on notice: make changes or face a lawsuit.
Alabama’s prison problems are well documented. There’s overcrowding, under-staffing, lack of infrastructure investment and capital projects. There are also serious mental health and violence problems.
“Since issuance of the findings letter, the State and the DOJ have engaged in collaborative communications seeking to jointly address the issues outlined in the DOJ’s findings letter," said Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton. “Even before the DOJ released its report, ADOC recognized the magnitude and scope of the challenges facing our Department.”
The state was required to outline its plan to fix all those problems or face a lawsuit. The DOJ was required to wait 49 days before taking any legal action. That period ended Tuesday, though it’s not a “deadline.”
Some state lawmakers believe the DOJ won’t take action because the ADOC is showing progress.
Lawmakers don’t think they will have a plan ready by the end of the regular session, but they hope Gov. Kay Ivey calls a special session once they have a plan together.
“My Administration and other state leaders are committed to resolving the complicated, decades-old challenges facing our prison system," Ivey said. "We will continue to work closely and collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Justice to find and implement Alabama solutions needed to address this Alabama problem.”