Alabama Department of Corrections commissioner Jeffery Dunn pushes the $800 million dollar prison construction.

        Today WSFA news here in Alabama aired another segment on the Alabama prison crises. This segment again publicized Commissioner Jeffery Dunn’s plan to build four super max prisons here in Alabama, and allegedly shutting down fourteen older prisons in existence today.

          With the steady cry for new prisons here in Alabama and the steadily pointing out of the increase of violence inside of our prisons, particularly violence on officers by inmates; it’s almost guaranteed that Alabama will spend the money in the near future to build these prisons and waste a fortune.

          It seems that the leaders of Alabama are intentionally ignoring the obvious facts pointed out by many individuals, and we now ask why? USJAN wrote on:

April 26, 2016

We’re calling on the Alabama House of Representatives to reject a plan that would cost the state over $1.5 billion but would not solve the problem of overcrowding in the state’s prison system. We are putting the weight of our partner organizations behind efforts to reject Senate Bill 287, the Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative Act, as the costly measure would fail to adequately address overcrowding.

Here’s what the Holly Harris and representatives from our coalition partners had to say about the plan:

Holly Harris, Executive Director, U.S. Justice Action Network: “This bill does not fix Alabama’s prison overcrowding problem, but it will give taxpayers heartburn. Senate Bill 287 would trigger over $1.5 billion in costs and still leave the state with overcrowded correctional facilities. We call on the Alabama House of Representatives to reject this plan and continue working on real reforms that provide a safer and more effective justice system.”

Susan Watson, Executive Director, ACLU of Alabama: “We need to address the appallingly high prison population in Alabama but building new facilities is not the answer. Meaningful reform addresses the causes of over-incarceration and actually reduces the cost to taxpayers. We urge the Alabama House to stop this plan and pursue real reforms that can cut the incarceration rate in the state and keep it down.”

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform: “Building new prisons does not solve Alabama’s crime problems – in fact, it’s yesterday’s failed approach. Instead, Alabama should look to other states that are successfully shrinking their prison populations while reducing crime and taxpayer spending.”

Todd Cox, Director of Criminal Justice Policy, Center for American Progress:  “States across the country have been able to reduce their overcrowded prisons without building new ones by implementing true criminal justice reforms. We urge Alabama to continue to  make meaningful reforms to its justice system that will both decrease its prison population and improve public safety.”

Timothy Head, Executive Director, Faith and Freedom Coalition: “Alabama’s severely overcrowded and costly prison system is a major problem, but the state recently took a giant step forward in its effort to fix the problem through a justice reinvestment initiative that projects to dramatically relieve prison overcrowding and lower costs over the next three to five years. The reforms that Alabama has enacted as part of its justice reinvestment effort will help make Alabama communities safer by effectively reducing recidivism through investments in drug treatment, mental health and other programs. We have seen the positive results for public safety because of these reforms in states like Texas and Georgia and look for similar results in Alabama. However, the Governor and the Alabama legislature could potentially harm this effort with their plan to construct four new prisons through a bond proposal. New prison construction will not solve the overcrowding issue, will not make Alabama communities safer, and will cost the taxpayers an additional 1.5 billion dollars.”

Adam Brandon, President and CEO, FreedomWorks: “Alabama took a significant step forward last year by passing a justice reinvestment package designed to responsibly address prison overcrowding and save taxpayers some $380 million in prison construction costs. Gov. Bentley’s Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative is a fiscally irresponsible step backward. FreedomWorks urges lawmakers to reject this costly bond proposal.”

Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice President, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: “Alabama has one of the most crowded prison systems in the country and this plan will not reduce the state’s inhumane warehousing of people.  The House should vote against this legislation that does not offer a path forward to curb the high prison population.”

Peter Williams, Executive Vice President of Programs, NAACP: “Continuing to lock up people and building more prisons is not the solution to overcrowding in our prison system.  In fact, if the proposed plan moves forward, Alabama would still rank in the bottom half of state systems for overcrowding. The state House of Representatives should block this bill and do the real work of taking up justice reforms that have a meaningful impact on the number of individuals in prison and jail.”

Marc Levin, Policy Director, Right on Crime: “We commend Alabama policymakers for implementing many criminal justice reforms that follow Right on Crime’s conservative principles as part of the 2015 justice reinvestment initiative. These reforms hold nonviolent offenders accountable in the community and focus prison beds on serious and dangerous offenders. Alabama can learn from Texas, which in 2007 opted against building new prisons that were projected to be needed and has since seen a 24 percent drop in crime while saving taxpayers billions of dollars Rather than spending $1.5 billion Alabama taxpayer dollars on new prisons, policymakers should give the 2015 justice reinvestment package more time to continue relieving  prison overcrowding and  explore additional policy changes that have worked in other states.”

        

          However still today politicians are still rallying to spend the tax payers money on an absurd plan. And sadly are also making men like officer Bettis their poster child in the process.

            A corrections officer and decorated veteran has died after he was assaulted and stabbed by an inmate earlier this month, Alabama Department of Corrections announced.

             Kenneth Bettis, 44, of Monroeville, succumbed to his injuries at the University of South Alabama Hospital in Mobile. 

             The alarming issues here however is that there is an alarming amount of evidence that lean towards the death of officer Kenneth Bettis being intentionally created from years of mismanagement within the ADOC.

                Also very alarming  , in the past few months the Department of Justice announced an investigation on the Alabama Department of Corrections . However there has been little evidence that the Department of Justice is actually doing any investigation whatsoever . Numerous individuals have contacted the Department of Justice with evidence and testimony in the situation within ADOC, but resources state that Department of Justice has yet to contact any of these crucial witnesses .

         Now with the newly elected President Donald Trump nominating Jeff Sessions to be United States Attorney General it has raised the question if the Department of Justice will be called off from investigating Alabama’s Department of Corrections . There is no denial that this investigation is questionable at the time especially now that the “good ole boy” of Alabama is in such a position to interfere.

         It’s time the citizens of Alabama take heed to the problems within the state and start learning what’s going on right in front of their nose. If the citizens refuse to notice and take control of the things that are going going awry within their lawmakers and politicians grasp this state will have no choice but to fall back even farther. 

                UNHEARD VOICES O.T.C.J.

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