Alabama prison chief seeks additional $42M to combat ‘unacceptably high’ violence

Published 4:36 pm Thursday, January 23, 2020

Alabama’s corrections chief on Thursday asked lawmakers for a $42 million funding increase as the state tries to combat “unacceptably high” violence and comply with a federal court order to add 2,200 officers by 2022.

Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn made the request during budget hearings, as he acknowledged the system continues to struggle with violence.

“This past year the culmination of challenges of low staffing, overcrowding and contraband, our violence numbers again we’re unacceptably high. I’ll say it again. They are unacceptably high,” Dunn said.

Dunn said the state is making progress on the directive to increase prison staff.

He said the system has added a net 255 security positions, including a newly created position of basic correctional officer.

A federal judge had ordered the state to add approximately 2,200 officers.

However, he said the number of inmates behind bars is beginning to rise after years of decreases. He said inmate population increased by 1,100 prisoners last year.