Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced that because of the COVID-19, she’s giving a two-week deadline extension for submission of proposals to build then lease three new prisons to the state.
Those proposals had been due by April 30 but the two developer teams – Alabama Prison Transformation Partners and CoreCivic – will have until May 14 to file their proposals, according to a press release from Ivey’s office Tuesday.
The decision to extend the proposal submission deadline came after discussions with two groups about the impacts each are experiencing because of COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, according to Ivey’s office.
“I am steadfastly committed to the strategic effort to build three new men’s correctional facilities – this ‘Alabama solution’ is a direct result of our dedication to implement actionable solutions that address long-standing challenges facing our prison system,” Ivey said in a statement. “Given the unforeseen circumstances associated with COVID-19, it is in the best interest of the state of Alabama to grant this extension so that the developer teams have adequate time to perform required due diligence and to prepare thorough and thoughtful proposals.”
Ivey’s plan to build three new prisons is part of her solution for fixing the state’s overcrowded, deadly prisons, which remain under threat of a federal lawsuit if state officials don’t address what the U.S. Department of Justice has said are violations of inmates’ Constitutional rights to protection from violence and sexual assault.
Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said in a statement that the spread of COVID-19 “has only further demonstrated the critical need for new correctional facilities in Alabama.”
“As we have stated before, overcrowded conditions within the Department’s dilapidated facilities create increasingly challenging circumstances to ensure inmate and staff health and safety,” Dunn said. “The developer teams expressed the need for an extension – due to work and travel restrictions implemented in the wake of this national health crisis – and we fully supported the extension. Improved prison infrastructure, increased staffing, and stronger rehabilitation programs will allow for transformational results.”