Prison construction bill goes before committee

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – An Alabama Senate committee is expected to vote on Gov. Robert Bentley’s push to borrow $800 million for prison construction.

The vote on the proposed bond issue comes after two violent uprisings at a south Alabama prison that Bentley blamed on overcrowding and staffing levels.

The Senate Finance and Taxation Committee has scheduled a vote on the bill for Wednesday morning.

Bentley said Tuesday that prison violence will continue unless problems of overcrowding are addressed. Bentley has proposed to build four large prisons and shutter most existing facilities.

Inmates stabbed the warden, a corrections officer and took control of a dormitory during two uprisings at William C. Holman Correctional Facility.

However, in a public hearing last week, lawmakers questioned the cost of the project and other aspects of Bentley’s proposal.

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