MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama's prison chief says he is optimistic the state will reach a settlement and avoid a Department of Justice lawsuit over prison conditions.
Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn on Thursday briefed a legislative committee on the department's effort to address Justice Department findings of unconditional conditions in state prisons.
Dunn says the state is trying to increase officer ranks with pay legislation and administrative changes. A firm hired by the state to develop a staffing plan recommended increasing starting officer trainee pay from $29,371 to about $37,000.
They also recommended creating a new type of position, with easier entry requirements, to handle some prison tasks.
Alabama is attempting to hire 500 officers within a year to comply with a directive to add about 2,000 officers by 2020.