Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday announced that she had entered into negotiations with the CoreCivic group on a proposed site in Elmore County near the intersection Alabama Highway 29 and Rifle Range Road for a new prison.
The CoreCivic team includes CoreCivic, Caddell Construction, the DLR Group, and R&N Systems.
“At the beginning of September, I announced the next phase of the Alabama Prison Program, including the successful Developer Teams and the proposed sites for the construction of Facilities One and Three. Multiple locations were under review for Facility Two, therefore, the site location was not shared at that time,” Ivey said in a statement. “We are pleased to announce that the Alabama Department of Corrections intends to enter into negotiations with the CoreCivic team (CoreCivic; Caddell Construction; DLR Group; and R&N Systems Design) to construct Facility Two at a proposed site in Elmore County near AL-229/Rifle Range Road.”
“As stated in the Request for Proposal, the ADOC intends to enter into long-term lease agreements for these three facilities,” Ivey said. “As such, the confidential negotiation period will continue to ensure and secure the best possible value for the state. The ADOC anticipates construction to begin in early 2021 and that approximately 3,900 construction jobs will be created in Elmore County.”
“I am pleased with the forward progression of this pivotal initiative and look forward to financial close, which is anticipated to occur in late 2020,” Ivey concluded.
The governor plans to build three new mega-prisons. This one will be in Elmore County and the second will be located near Bell Fork Road in Escambia County. The two will be built by and leased from the CoreCivic team.
The third prison will be located near AL-139 and County Road CR-2 in Bibb County which is being built by a group called the Alabama Prison Transformation Partners, made up of Star America, BL Harbert International, Butler-Cohen, Arrington Watkins Architects and Johnson Controls Inc.
The one in Elmore County will be the largest of the three mega-prisons.
The governor claims that the state’s prisons are nearing the end of their life expectancies and that it would be more cost-efficient to build new prisons than to repair and update the 27 prisons that the state already owns.
Gov. Robert Bentley had proposed building four new mega-prisons that would be paid for with a massive bond issue, but the Legislature never voted in favor of Bentley’s plan.
Ivey claims that she has the executive authority to negotiate a long term lease agreement to lease the three mega-prisons for the next three decades without the Legislature or the public having any input into what the governor agrees to.
Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn claims that the new prisons are needed to transform the ADOC from warehousing criminals to rehabilitating people so they can transition back into Alabama society without reoffending.