By Lisa Kopochinski
MONTGOMERY, Ala. —The competition for Alabama’s $900 million contract to build three large prisons is now down from three companies instead to two—Alabama Prison Transformation Partners and CoreCivic.
According to a report by WBCR.com, Governor Kay Ivey recently announced an extension of the new deadline to April 30 to May 14.
The Alabama Department of Corrections told local media that companies dropping out of the competition is normal in such a large and complicated project.
“Participating in the procurement process requires significant investments from the developer teams,” said ADOC Spokesperson Samantha Rose. “Therefore, it is a typical part of the process for teams to withdraw if they recognize the delivery method is not an ideal match for their business model.”
Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster), who is the Senate authority on prison reform and construction effort, said in a statement that it’s the “strenuous requirements” in the RFP that are causing companies to pull their names.
“I think—coronavirus or no coronavirus—some companies are saying they just can’t do it. I’m not convinced that (the state is) not going to have to revisit this and put out another RFP, or even another (request for qualifications),” Ward said.
ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn said the state had “two strong developer teams” participating and that the department is fully committed to selecting developers from the current process.
He added that the threat of the new coronavirus has only further demonstrated the need to build new prisons quickly.
“Crowded conditions within the Department’s dilapidated facilities create increasingly challenging circumstances to ensure inmate and staff health and safety. Governor Ivey and the ADOC are steadfastly committed to the strategic effort to build three new men’s correctional facilities, which will allow us to implement actionable solutions that address long-standing challenges facing our prison system.”
According to Ivey’s office, the decision to extend the proposal submission deadline was made after discussions with the two participating developer teams about the prohibitive impacts they are experiencing as a result of COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.