Alabama to use COVID-19 relief funds to build 2 prisons
- Alabama lawmakers are pushing forward a controversial plan to use COVID-19 relief funds to build new prisons, the Associated Press reported.
- Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill authorizing the use of $ 400 million from the US bailout to partially fund the new prisons.
- Democrats opposed the plan, arguing it is a misuse of pandemic relief money.
Alabama lawmakers on Friday pushed forward a controversial plan to spend $ 400 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to build two new prisons in the state.
According to the Associated Press, state lawmakers approved a plan to build two new prisons and renovate existing prison facilities for a total of $ 1.3 billion, including $ 400 million from federal funding provided. to the state as part of President Joe Biden’s US bailout.
Six prisons would close under the new plan, according to the AP.
The $ 400 million represents about 20% of the funding the state received under the ARP.
“This is a pivotal moment in the trajectory of our state’s criminal justice system,” GOP Governor Kay Ivey said at an event signing the legislation, according to an Associated Press report.
Republicans who supported the legislation argued that the use of the funds was appropriate because of a $ 1.9 trillion plan provision that allowed states to allocate funds to supplement lost revenue and bolster the funds. utilities, the Associated Press reported.
“It was the right thing to do for Alabama. We have crumbling infrastructure. We have people housed in dirty places. We have people working in dangerous conditions,” the Republican senator said. ‘State, Greg Albritton. , according to the AP.
Democrats, meanwhile, opposed the plan and argued that it was an inappropriate use of ARP unds. U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat representing New York, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen this week asking her to intervene to prevent ARP funds from falling. be used to build the prisons, the AP reported.
“I would be surprised if that was the intention of the funding,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday, according to the report.
“There are many needs here in the state of Alabama and many people are in need of these funds,” Democratic state representative Juanandalynn Givan said, according to the AP report. “But they saw an opportunity to take Biden’s money, that $ 400 million, because it was like liquid water running through their hands and like, ‘OK, let’s jump on it. ”