State signs prison construction contract, silent on details

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Alabama officials have signed a contract to build a new state prison — part of a $1.3 billion construction plan using part of pandemic relief funds — but have not released many details.

A spokeswoman for Alabama Governor Kay Ivey confirmed the state has signed a contract with Caddell Construction Co., beginning April 15, to build a men’s correctional facility in the county. of Elmore, “which will provide enhanced medical and mental health services”.

“The new facility will create a safer security environment for inmates and security personnel. Our construction schedule continues to be on schedule,” Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola wrote in an email.

The Alabama Department of Corrections on Wednesday declined to release a copy of the contract. A spokeswoman said he needed to be redacted and that would take time as it is a long contract. The department did not immediately respond to an email requesting information on the cost or size of the jail.

Ivey’s office said the prison system should be able to provide a copy of the “publicly available contract documents in the coming days.”

Alabama lawmakers this fall approved a $1.3 billion prison construction plan that will use $400 million of the state’s share of U.S. bailout funds to help pay for construction. The building plan included a new jail in Elmore County with at least 4,000 beds and improved space for medical and mental health needs.

It also included another prison with at least 4,000 beds in Escambia County, a new women’s prison, and renovations to existing facilities.

Lawmakers expected one of the construction contracts to go to Montgomery-based Caddell Construction. The legislation clarified that instead of the normal bidding process, the state could instead negotiate directly with entities that are part of qualified development teams for projects under a lease plan that Ivey’s administration had sued but dropped out. Lawmakers said it would save time and build on work already done.

In October, Ivey called the construction plan a “pivotal moment” for improving the state’s criminal justice system. Critics of the plan said it did not address underlying issues, such as understaffing, and was not an appropriate use of pandemic relief funds.

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