Inmates in tents an option, Gov. says

Published 2:09 pm Monday, July 29, 2002

By By Robbie Byrd, News Editor
Inmates being transferred from county jails throughout the state could have a new activity to participate in: camping.
The governor's office announced that it is considering, as a last resort, placing a "tent-city" outside of its Kilby Correctional Facility in Montgomery to house the some 1,000-plus state convicts awaiting transfers from county jails.
It also announced that, while no plans have been finalized, the DOC is negotiating the sale of an unknown amount of land to the City of Atmore for industrial purposes.
Grant Culliver, warden at Holman and Fountain Correctional Centers in Atmore, said that while he feels a tent facility is a last resort, it has been done before.
Culliver said that facilities are at their maximum capacity all over the state.
Brian Corbett, spokesperson for the Department of Corrections, said that while it is a possibility for the DOC, it is still not a cost-effective or permanent solution.
The consideration follows a ruling by Montgomery Circuit Court Judge William Shashy that ordered the DOC to take responsibility for some 1,200 inmates being housed in county jails.
Shashy ordered, however, that the DOC take the prisoners by July 26 along with cashing out a $2.1 million fine.
Corbett said that if it had $2.1 million, it would be using that money to correct the problem, not to pay the contempt fine issued by the judge.
Shashy had ordered the state comptroller to begin issuing checks to county jails, as well as consider placing Prison Commissioner Michael Haley in prison if all inmates awaiting transfers were not moved by Friday. However, a motion for reconsideration filed by Siegelman's lawyers earlier this month has postponed the deadline.
Shashy is said to be reviewing the request.
Corbett suggests that the public place emphasis on this project to their legislators.
Atmore-DOC negotiations quiet
The DOC hopes to fall into plenty money if a proposed sale of DOC lands to the City of Atmore is completed.
The Governor's office and the DOC declined to comment on the negotiations, other than to say that there had been talks.
Officials say that the City of Atmore had expressed interest in the land in hopes of expanding economic and industrial development.
Kanarrick also said the DOC is interested in working a deal with the Alabama Department of Transportation to house a number of non-violent offenders.
The facility, which the DOT is referring to as a "work-camp," would house 100-150 non-violent offenders in Jefferson County.
At press time Atmore Mayor Howard Shell was unavailable for comment and unable to respond to questions concerning the purchase of DOC lands.

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