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Director of the Alabama Sentencing Commission discusses prison crisis

Bennet Wright is the director of the Alabama Sentencing Commission.
Bennet Wright is the director of the Alabama Sentencing Commission.(WTVY)
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 3:39 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Director of the Alabama Sentencing Commission was in the Wiregrass Monday and discussed issues concerning the state’s prison crisis.

A 2019 report from the Department of Justice deemed facility overcrowding as an underlying issue for most problems including prisoner on prisoner assault and violence.

Wright says the state has two options- repair existing prisons and spend three-quarters of a billion dollars or embark on a project to create three new facilities that would cost more than two billion dollars.

He also believes there is a need for more correctional officers, better physical health care, and improved mental health care inside of facilities and throughout communities.

Wright is encouraging all Alabamians to get interested in how prisons are run before it reaches a breaking point.

“Worst case scenario is that a federal court could, in essence, open up Alabama’s existing general fund budget and tell Alabama what Alabama needs to do the result of that would be is that every other agency that is funded out of the state other than education would have less money,” says Wright.

Wright is on the Alabama Criminal Justice Oversight and Implementation Council which monitors legislation aimed at reducing the state’s prison population.

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