Lawmakers put temporary hold on $10 million prison contract

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. ( — Alabama legislators Thursday put a temporary hold on the Alabama Department of Corrections' plans to pay a company $10 million to design new prisons and analyze the system’s needs in preparation for the possible construction of three prisons.

The Legislature’s contract review committee can hold contracts for up to 45 days but cannot stop them.

At Thursday’s meeting, senators and representatives had plenty of questions for Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn about whether the contract with Hoar Program Management was a sound use of money considering that plans to build prisons failed in the Legislature in 2016 and 2017.

Dunn said the contract was a necessary step in a larger, overall plan tentatively aimed at building three large, regional men’s prisons and closing most of the existing men’s prisons. Dunn said it’s a better use of taxpayer dollars than putting money into most of the state’s aging prisons.

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