Alabama Eyes Private Prison Purchase

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Lawmakers are pressing a proposal to purchase a 726-bed private prison in Perry County to relieve dangerous levels of overcrowding in the state prison system.
The Alabama State Legislature is considering a bill that would authorize a $60 million bond issue to finance the purchase and upgrade of the Perry County Correctional Center in Uniontown.
At the end of 2009, the state prison system housed almost 32,000 inmates in facilities with a total combined capacity of about 13,400 beds, according to official figures.
The Alabama Department of Corrections, which is in the midst of a severe overcrowding crisis and operating under the looming specter of federal intervention, already houses about 400 inmates at the PCCC. Total capacity at the 120,000-square-foot facility, which occupies a 35-acre site 80 miles west of Montgomery, could be expanded to 1,500 beds, officials say.