Increase unlikely; fewer prisoners is answer, chief says
MONTGOMERY - State prisons aren't likely to receive a budget increase for the next budget year, so state prison Commissioner Richard Allen said Thursday he saw no reason Thursday to mention a dollar figure during legislative budget hearings.
The Department of Corrections received $363.85 million this fiscal year.
Allen said he presented a $477-million budget in August for fiscal 2010 to Gov. Bob Riley, but that was before the nation fell into a recession.
That figure "has no meaning now," he said. "It's obsolete."
For the new fiscal year, Allen said his agency will focus on how to "dampen down" the number of new inmates.
Those programs will center on sentencing reform, community corrections, new goals for pardons and paroles and a supervised re-entry program.
"The Sentencing Commission's job is looking at new bills and telling legislators what the impact is going to be" on the Department of Corrections, he said. "Sentencing reform requires them to consider alternate means of sentence. Those are very very important."
Allen said one of the reasons Alabama's prison population has grown from 27,972 in March 2006 to 30,508 on Dec. 31, 2008, is that the Legislature has created 67 new felony crimes since 2001.
Also, he said there's been an explosion in drug abuse.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
More Money not Answer to Prison Crisis
In yesterday's Huntsville Times Alabama Prison Commissioner Richard Allen stated clearly that more money won't fix the major overcrowding problems in the Alabama prison system. In a sort of indirect way he also said that 'drug abuse' (wrong term) has been the major factor in the exploding population along with 67 new felony laws. That was a big hint to the Legislature to fix the laws that send casual users and true addicts to prison where they become animals and do not receive proper treatment. According to the latest numbers I have around 30% of people in Alabama prisoners are there for drug offenses.