Ivey, a Republican, had convened a special session of the Alabama Legislature to discuss how to fix what she has called a decades-long problem of prison infrastructure challenges. The governor said Friday’s bill signing was the culmination of hard work and conversations between lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
“I’d like to personally offer my thanks to the legislative leadership who are standing behind me right here, for a successful special session, and what we believe will yield untold benefits to all Alabamians in the days ahead,” Ivey said.
The state Legislature gave the package final approval Friday.
The use of federal money on prisons would help all Alabamians, according to Ivey, who pitched the idea as lessening the burden for taxpayers while prisons are built.
“Directing funding meant to protect our citizens from a pandemic to fuel mass incarceration is in direct contravention of the intended purposes of the ARP legislation and will particularly harm communities of color who are already disproportionately impacted by over-incarceration and this public health crisis,” the New York Democrat wrote. “It should not be used to worsen our national problem of over-incarceration.”
The Treasury Department did not respond to a request for comment on Ivey’s statements.
Pastor Robert White, who runs the Legal Advocacy Group, which lobbies for inmates’ rights, previously told CNN that “we could be using this money on mental health, on our sewage system. Covid is still going on; we should be using this money on our health care system.”
“We’re not saying the prisons don’t need to be built. We’re saying that this money needs to go to mental health, education, not a plantation in the middle of nowhere. The problem doesn’t change. The murders don’t stop,” he continued.
CNN’s Rachel Janfaza contributed to this report.
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