Alabama selects developers, identifies proposed sites for 3 mega prisons

Developer teams have been selected for building three new mega prisons across Alabama.
Developer teams have been selected for building three new mega prisons across Alabama.(WSFA)
Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 11:53 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama is moving forward with plans to build three new mega prison facilities across the state. Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Corrections Thursday released the names of the developer teams who were selected after submitting proposals in May. And the state is providing some details on the locations of the prisons.

“It is no secret that the ADOC is facing real, longstanding challenges, most of which are decades in the making and rooted in inadequate, crowded, and structurally failing facilities,” said Commissioner Jeff Dunn. “Building new facilities that improve safety and security for staff and inmates and allow for effective inmate rehabilitation is the right and only path forward.”

The governor’s office says now that the proposals have been evaluated and recommendations have been made to the commissioner, ADOC will begin negotiations with the teams for construction of new prisons at several proposed sites.

Facility One: A proposed site is located near AL-139/CR-2 in Bibb County. The developer team is Alabama Prison Transformation Partners (Star America; BL Harbert International; Butler-Cohen; Arrington Watkins Architects; and Johnson Controls, Inc.)

Facility Two: A proposed site involves multiple locations in Elmore County but a review is still underway. The developer team is CoreCivic (CoreCivic; Caddell Construction; DLR Group; and R&N Systems Design)

Facility Three: A proposed site is located near Bell Fork Road in Escambia County. The developer team is CoreCivic (CoreCivic; Caddell Construction; DLR Group; and R&N Systems Design)

“Given the failing state of the ADOC’s existing infrastructure and that the Department already is faced with more than $1 billion in deferred maintenance costs alone, pursuing new construction without raising taxes or incurring debt is the fiscally sound and responsible decision,” Ivey said.

The next step in the process will involve the state entering a confidential negotiation period with the developer teams in order for the state to get the best possible value for the projects, the governor’s office said.

ADOC says it intends to negotiate long-term leases for each facility, and will oversee operations and staffing while the developer teams will provide infrastructure maintenance and life-cycle replacement for the duration of the leases.

Financial terms are expected to be released to the public by the end of the year once the deals are closed.

Construction is expected to begin in 2021 with the creation of thousands of construction jobs.

“The Alabama Prison Program is vital for the long-term success of our state and communities. We all – legislators, advocates, and taxpayers, alike – can and should agree that we must rebuild Alabama’s correctional system from the ground up to improve safety for our state’s correctional staff and inmate population, and we must do it immediately,” Ivey said.

The decision was hailed by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall who added, “years of delays in agreeing on a plan for their replacement - coupled with ever more costly maintenance - have created the need for action on the part of the State. Taking bold action to bring about this level of positive change is an example of real leadership and Governor Ivey is to be commended.”

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