By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
In order to inflate the number of prisoners being housed in State-run prisons possibly to make a better case to build new prisons, Alabama Department of Corrections officials last year began moving dozens of prisoners being held in county facilities, several County Sheriffs said during a meeting Wednesday at the State House.
The Sheriffs – from Clarke, Clay, Sumter, Macon and Lowndes – said they had long-standing contracts with DOC to house prisoners, but last summer, as a new $800 million prison plan was being floated to lawmakers, DOC officers started showing up at their county jails and removing prisoners. Now, those sheriffs said they had more than 600 empty beds – with potentially thousands more in other counties – at a time when DOC officials are saying State prisons are at nearly 200 percent capacity.