Shoals Chamber of Commerce launches prison reform survey

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 5:11 PM CDT
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FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - If you live in the Shoals, members of your local legislative delegation want your feedback on prison reform.

The need for prison reform isn’t going away. It’s something that affects every city and county in the state. In fact, a special session could happen as early as summer to pass legislation funding new prison construction in Alabama.

Samuel Mashburn is the Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at the Shoals Chamber of Commerce.

“We found that there was a desire to get some feedback from the public on construction of prisons in the state,” said Mashburn.

He says The Shoals legislative delegation has launched a four-question survey to get opinions on the topic.

“With that, there is the question of who owns and manages the prisons. Are they leased prisons through a private company, or will they be completely owned and operated by the state? our legislators really wanted the feedback from the public.” Mashburn added.

Alabama is facing a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice claiming the state’s overpopulated prisons are understaffed and dangerous.

Governor Kay Ivey, alongside state lawmakers, are trying to find a solution to the prison problem.

This is a situation Mashburn says affects every corner of Alabama. And, that’s why he says your opinion matters when it comes to the prison reform survey.

“Proposals have shown this is probably going to cost as much as $3 billion in some cases. For a significant investment that size, it’s critical we have taxpayer feedback because they are going to be paying for this project. It’s a statewide issue that has just as much impact on the Shoals as it does Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile and Dothan and everything in between,” Mashburn explained.

Responses to the survey are confidential.

Mashburn says feedback collected will be shared with the local delegation to use in their decision-making process about the future of the state’s prison system.

You can learn more and take the survey yourself here.

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