Montgomery, Ara. – In a national debate over the use of pandemic relief funds, Alabama legislators swiftly approved a plan to withdraw $400 million from the US rescue program to support the construction of two super-large prisons. This erased criticism from parliamentary Democrats that the money was not intended. such project.
In a less-controversial bipartisan vote, Senate Alabama cast three votes to approve a $1.3 billion prison construction plan and withdrew $400 million of the state’s $2.1 billion to be paid from relief funds. Rice field. The House of Representatives accepted a minor change to the construction bill and approved the plan in a special five-day session.
Republican Senator Greg Albritton said state officials were confident that pandemic funds could be used legally, and that construction to replace several existing prisons would solve long-standing problems in state prisons. . “It’s very useful,” he said.
“That was true for Alabama. There is a collapsed infrastructure. People live in dirty places. There are individuals who work in unsafe conditions,” Albriton said.
President Joe Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package was signed in March, providing an influx of funds to states and cities recovering from a pandemic. Alabama’s plans drew sharp criticism from some parliamentary Democrats, who said the prison building bailout bill was not intended. Republicans said the rules give them discretion to spend money on what they see as their greatest need.
The US Justice Department has sued Alabama over a prison system “filled with prisoner-to-prisoner violence and security guards’ violence against prisoners.” The Justice Ministry said in a previous report that aging facilities were a factor in unconstitutional circumstances, but because of issues such as cultural issues, poor management, corruption and violence, “only new facilities will not solve it.” where did it go.
Senators voted 30-1 to take advantage of pandemic funding and 29-2 to the overall construction plan.
Democratic Senator Billy Beasley, the only senator to vote against the bill, opposes the bill and plans to close correctional facilities in his district, financially hurting his rural areas. He expressed concern over the prospect. He and several Democrats have called on the state to quickly allocate the remaining $1.7 billion to the US rescue program for medical and other needs.
“Alabama hospitals are really under a lot of pressure…. We need to use more of the relief money to support the hospitals in Alabama,” Beasley said.
This week, the New York House Committee on the Judiciary, Jerrold Nadler, asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to “prevent the misuse of (US rescue program) funds by any state, including Alabama,” to build the prison. For this I sent a letter.
“The Democratic federal government has never had a problem investing trillions of dollars in its idealistic pet project,” Ivy rebelled against his letter.
Asked Wednesday about Alabama’s plans, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “I would be surprised if this was the intent of the funding.”
Republican legislative leaders say the US rescue program approves dollars for economic and medical programs, as well as money to replace income lost during the pandemic by the state to bolster critical support. They say they are comfortable with being able to spend their money legally because they can use it to help maintain public services and work.
Alabama’s prison building proposal requires three new prisons. A prison with at least 4,000 beds in Elmore County, which is better equipped to meet medical and mental health care needs. Another prison with at least 4,000 beds in Escambia County. and women’s prison – and renovation of existing facilities. The existing six facilities will remain closed.
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