A positive note in prison debate

December 5, 2017

By Sen. Cam Ward and Rep. Matt Fridy

The news surrounding the Alabama corrections system seems to be one negative story after another with much of the focus on the need for reform and consolidation in the system as well as higher quality of service and better outcomes.  Much of this is true and is a result of inadequate funding, not because of poor leadership or management.  In fact, we would argue that ADOC has some of the best leadership under Commissioner Jeff Dunn and his team that we have had in some time.  They are tackling the bigger problems and looking for ways to solve them in the face of many challenges.

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Special Session on Alabama prisons expected

July 7, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, June 27, 2017, US District Judge Myron H. Thompson declared the mental health care system in Alabama prisons to be “horrendously inadequate.” Judge Thompson said that the prisons are an unconstitutional failure that has resulted in a “skyrocketing suicide rate” among prisoners over the last two years. US District Judge Myron H. Thompson has ordered the state to reform the system which has been chronically underfunded and overcrowded.
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More children with Autism will soon have access to needed therapy

May 22, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — More children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Alabama will soon have access to a needed but expensive therapy after the passage of one of this Session’s most-watched pieces of Legislation.

Last week, the Legislature approved a bill that would force insurance companies to provide insurance coverage for an Autism Spectrum Therapy called Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy.

Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill Friday afternoon, surrounded by members of the Autism community and the bill’s sponsors and strongest proponents in the Senate, where the bill was health up, Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) and Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn). Rep. Jim Patterson (R-Meridianville) sponsored the bill in the House.

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Autism advocates, common sense prevail in Legislative victory

May 20, 2017

By Sen. Cam Ward
Alabama State Senate

Until 1998, women who battled breast cancer and had a mastectomy may not have received insurance coverage for reconstructive surgery. It’s hard to imagine an insurance company wouldn’t pay for making a woman whole after she stared death in the eye, lost a part of her body, and still survived. Congress passed the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) and fix this gross inequity with a common-sense mandate.

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$845 million prison construction bill dead for Session, sponsor says

May 18, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — The plan to build four new “mega” prisons at a cost of up to $845 million is dead for this Legislative Session, the bill’s sponsor confirmed to the Alabama Political Reporter.

With the Legislative Session hastening to an end and only a few meaningful hours left to pass anything, the bill hit a brick wall in the House, which has been held hostage by on-and-off Democratic filibusters for the past week. Commotion over an email black lawmakers found offensive Tuesday also lessened the bill’s chances of getting to the floor for a vote.

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Tuesday committee vote to decide future of prison construction plan

May 16, 2017

 By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — An up-or-down vote in committee Tuesday will decide the future of the Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative, an $845-million plan two years in the making that would authorize the construction of three new regional men’s prisons and a new women’s prison.

The House Judiciary Committee will meet Tuesday morning to take up Senate Bill 302, which would authorize the plan. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Cam Ward, said Monday he gives the bill a 50-50 chance of passing.

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Terminally Ill Children’s Bill gets favorable report

May 12, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, May 10, 2017, the Alabama Senate Health Committee gave a favorable report to a bill, House Bill 373, which gives legally binding authority to a child’s advanced directive when not in the hospital.

HB373 is sponsored by State Representative April Weaver (R-Alabaster) who chairs the House Health Committee. Weaver said that the bill requires that a terminally ill child’s advance directives be honored.
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Stacy George opposes $845 million Prison Plan

May 12, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

GOP Gubernatorial candidate Stacy George has taken a stand against the prison construction plan that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) is lobbying the Legislature to pass.

George, who works as a prison guard for ADOC told The Alabama Political Reporter that the biggest problem facing the State’s prisons is that they are understaffed. While George thinks there is some need for construction he opposes former Governor Robert Bentley’s plan to borrow $845 million.
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APR breaks it down: The $845 million plan for new prisons expected in the House

May 10, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — A House prison construction plan in the works is expected to include the provisions that would allow for the construction of a new women’s prison and three regional men’s facilities at a cost of up to $845 million.

The revamped House plan will come as lawmakers stare down the end of the 2017 Legislative Session, set to close with only five legislative days to go and several priorities left unfinished. Lawmakers are making a final sprint to get a prison reform plan through.

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House committee OKs bill to shorten death penalty appeal times

May 10, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — A House committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill Tuesday that would shorten the time frame for death penalty appeals in an effort to reduce the number of years that can pass while an inmate stays on death row.

The bill would require death row inmates to argue all claims during their appeal. Death row inmates are currently allowed to first appeal trial errors in the Court of Criminal Appeals. Once the trial error appeal is finished, they can then appeal on other issues like ineffective counsel.

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