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Cullman Times: Looking past the prisons

Staff Report

CULLMAN — The Alabama Legislature faces a multitude of challenges because of huge projected shortfalls in the General Fund budget.

Among the most critical issues in this funding shortage will be the plight of the state Department of Corrections. With just under 31,000 inmates housed in Alabama prisons, the incarcerated population now stands at 190 percent of the designed capacity of the facilities.

The situation will ultimately put more pressures on county jails to house state inmates, which will require the state to pay additional money to the counties for food and housing the inmates. The overcrowding may well become a county to county issue.

With no concrete funding options in place when the legislature returns to work next month, Gov. Robert Bentley is expected to seek proration in the General Fund budget. Proration will mean layoffs and a reduction in services in several areas, including the judicial system. Residents may see courthouses with reduced hours and shorter court terms across the state.

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The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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The budget includes a 2 percent pay raise for state employees and increases for most agencies.


The proposed budget is the largest in the state’s history.


A tweak would allow $40 million targeted for correctional officer salaries to be used for prison construction.


The state has already spent over $57.7 million since January 2022 on the design and preliminary construction of its new prisons.