By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Department of Corrections and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency both requested a boost in funding as they presented their budgets to the Legislative Committee on Thursday.
ADOC requested an $80 million increase over the next two years as its officials navigate a growing problem of staffing and management of programs regarding prisoner health care.
Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn presented the budget to the committee that requested millions of dollars to address growing issues.
Dunn said the overcrowding rate decreasing by 30 percentage points. Despite the decrease, Alabama prisons remain overcrowded by 60 percentage points.
Plans to build new much larger prisons were a major topic of the 2017 Legislative session with multiple bills being introduced to build four large prisons. Supporters argued the mega prisons would save money on staffing and essentially pay for itself, but the bills failed to pass the Legislature.
There has been no indication if the bills will come back for the Session that starts in less than a week.
Another department that presented its proposal was the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which has been a center of controversy since its founding by Gov. Robert Bentley.
Its latest request for funding came to the tune of $5 million for hiring personnel, particularly state troopers, who have seen a decline over the past 10 years.
ALEA Commissioner Hal Taylor presented the budget to the committee.
State Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, asked about the promotion of African-American troopers in the force. According to Singleton, three of the six majors in the force were African-American before the current system was in place.
Singleton said he spoke with African-American troopers who were displeased with the system calling it the “good ol’ boy” system.
Taylor said the system did not discriminate and also said he never considers race when troopers come up for promotion.
The proposed budget will now make its way into the Legislature for their consideration during the session.