The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee gave a favorable report Wednesday to a bill to raise pay for Alabama Corrections officers. House Bill 468 is sponsored by State Rep. Christopher John England, D-Tuscaloosa.
“We have already paid for this one,” England said. “This is the compensation package for corrections officers.”
The money is going toward attracting new corrections officers and retaining current officers.
State Sen. Cam Ward said this is part of the settlement of the case with Judge Myron Thompson.
Alabama is currently in a couple of federal courts due to the treatment of its prisoners. A U.S. Justice Department investigation found the prisons are the most violent in the country and are chronically overcrowded and understaffed.
“I am the Senate sponsor of this, and I move to give it a favorable report,” Ward said.
“The cost of this is $41 million. How many new employees will be added?” asked Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore.
Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said the money would be used as support for current employees and to hire 500 new employees.
“Are those COs or mental health or both?” Albritton asked.
“This is just the security side,” Dunn said.
“I think there needs to be language in the budget where if you spend $25 million, $30 million but not the whole $40 million, then I think we need to stipulate where that money is spent, and I know that they have other needs,” Ward said.
Albritton said that is in the budgeting process.
The committee voted to give HB468 a favorable report.
It is now in position to be taken up by the full Senate.
To read more about the bill: