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Judge says DOC should pay fines

By By STAFF REPORTS
Initial hopes from the DOC to spend money acquired through a land deal with the City of Atmore have been put on hold, according to published reports.
Governor Don Siegelman's head legal advisor, in a meeting with the Alabama Sentencing Commission, expressed the Alabama Department of Corrections hopes to use the $2.4 million from the land sale to house state inmates currently being held in county jails throughout the state.
However, pending a reaction from Montgomery Circuit Court Judge William Shashy, the DOC will have to use the money to pay a $2 million fine he imposed for failure to move inmates into state facilities and out of county centers.
Hosp said the DOC wishes to spend the money to hire additional parole officers and place some of the convicts currently in county facilities into portable buildings at the DOC's East Thomas correctional center near Birmingham.
The state also wants to use a vacant military warehouse in Montgomery to house some prisoners, the report said.
Officials with the Associaiton of County Commissions said the organization would rather the state use the money to remove state inmates from county facilities rather than pay fines.
However, Shashy has ordered that the state do both.
The state missed one deadline in July, however filed for an extension to prevent further fines being placed on the DOC.
Officials will meet today to discuss what state Attorney General Bill Pyror told the Birmingham News-Herald was a "jail crowding crisis."
The land sale gave the city 410 acres of land it plans to use for an industrial park. The land is located along Hwy. 21 south of I-65, just outside of the Atmore city limits.
Mayor Howard Shell said he plans to annex the purchased property, along with the land that currently houses Jefferson Davis Community College, into the city limits.