ADOC reacts after lawsuit filed to block mega-prisons plan

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 10:00 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Corrections is reacting to news that a lawsuit has been filed that seeks to block construction of Gov. Kay Ivey’s $3 billion mega-prisons project.

“The Alabama Department of Corrections conducted extensive due diligence prior to, and in the process of, undertaking this project to ensure the Leases were entered into in accordance with applicable laws,” said Kristi Simpson, Deputy to the Chief of Staff and Interim Departmental Spokesperson for the ADOC.

Simpson called the lawsuit “politically motivated litigation” that is “clearly intended only to distract.”

Ivey signed two contracts with prison giant CoreCivic in February to build mega-prisons in Elmore and Escambia counties. The deal involves 30-year lease contracts in which the prisons will be operated by ADOC but maintained by CoreCivic.

The lawsuit, first reported by WBRC on Tuesday, asks a judge to issue a declaratory judgment on the issue, specifically as to whether the governor can incur debt for the state.

Both Ivey and ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn are named as defendants in the suit.

The plaintiffs include Alabama state Auditor Jim Zeigler, Rep. John Rogers, Elmore County property owner Leslie Ognburn and pastor Kenny Glasgow. They believe the lease agreements signed by the governor violate state law and ADOC regulations.

They’re ultimately asking a judge to void the lease agreements with CoreCivic, and they’re also seeking temporary and permanent injunctive relief to suspend the lease agreements.

“ADOC will swiftly respond to these baseless and unsupported allegations, and remains committed to building a more rehabilitative, therapeutic environment for our population of incarcerated people,” Simpson stated.

A ruling on the lawsuit has not yet been made.

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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