By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Senate passed SB396 today, a bill that would provide a special appropriation for the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Proration has begun 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) sponsored SB396, which would return the department’s operating budget to the October 2011 level of $45 million.
This supplemental appropriation would allow Alabama prisons to continue operating. Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) said keeping prison funding a priority is necessary to keep Alabamians safe.
“During a time of austere budgets, hard choices must be made, but the safety of Alabamians is not a compromise we can afford to make,” Orr said. “Passage of this bill will help ensure that safety.”
While Senate Democrats attempted to shut down the bill, Orr said this prison funding was much bigger than party politics.
“Prison funding is an issue that needed to be addressed right away. The last thing we want is the release of violent offender back into the community,” Orr said.
Senator Jabo Waggoner, Majority Leader, praised Orr for his commitment to keeping Alabamians safe despite tough opposition.
“The Democrats would obviously rather open the prison doors and allow violent offenders back out on the streets to become repeat violent offenders. The Republican Majority will always go above and beyond to ensure the safety and security of Alabama families,” said Waggoner. “I applaud Senator Orr’s efforts to bring this additional appropriation so that our prisons are not forced into a situation that they have to have a mass release of criminals, which is the remedy that Democrats believe is best for Alabama. We believe their approach is both irresponsible and reckless.”