By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Proration is beginning to cast its effect across all state agencies. The Department of Corrections is one such agency. The problem is when the DOC can no longer provide services the only option is to release prisoners. That is an alternative that is unacceptable to most of Legislators and the general public.
In a move to shore up the DOC, Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) on Tuesday passed out of committee SB396, which will return the department’s operating budget to the October 2011 level of $45 million.
Orr told the committee, “It was the administration’s recommendation that when the proration call was issued, that we protect what would be the equivalent of level funding for the Department of Corrections.”
During the hearing Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery) asked why food cost for inmates had risen somewhat dramatically. It was explained that because of prison overcrowding many inmates that would normally be in state prisons are being temporarily held in County jails until the state has room to house them. This situation cost more money and has exacerbated an all ready burdened system.
Orr also explained during the hearing that by statute Alabama’s courts must retain 85 percent of their operation budget and that the state cannot prorate its debt. All other agencies will see the greater impact of proration.