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Senate approves use of pandemic relief money for new prison plan

barbed wire prison fence

The Alabama Senate passed a new prison infrastructure bill package on Friday, approving a $1.3 billion construction plan. Part of that budget will be funded by pandemic relief money.

The bills were put forward to a vote after being approved by the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee on Thursday. The plan includes taking $400 million from the American Rescue Plan, which Sen. Greg Albritton said was a necessary expense that only takes a fraction from what the state is receiving in relief.

“I’m pleased the Prison Infrastructure Bill Package has passed the Alabama Senate with strong support," Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement. "Our senators have worked hard to be solution-seekers to these long-standing challenges."

Critics of the bill package have said new buildings will not fix the state's prison problems.

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