Alabama Senate approves prison construction plan

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The Alabama Senate has approved a prison construction plan.

Senators voted 23-11 for the bill Thursday after nearly three hours of debate. The proposal now heads to the Alabama House of Representatives.

The construction plan is an attempt to relieve prison overcrowding. It banks on interest from local communities in having the prisons and the jobs that come with them.

The bill authorizes the state to lease up to three prisons built by local communities. The bill would also authorize a $350 million state bond issue to build one new prison and renovate others.

Gov. Robert Bentley had proposed an $800 million bond issue to build four prisons.

State prisons have come under criticism for overcrowding, understaffing and violence.

Alabama prisons house 23,074 inmates in facilities built for 13,318.

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