- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2020

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A panel will consider what to do with Alabama’s existing prisons as the state moves forward with plans for three new, privately built lockups, Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said Tuesday.

Ivey has formed a 15-member commission to evaluate the state’s prisons and make recommendations about whether to renovate them or even use the buildings for something else. Chaired by Neal Wade, a former director of the Alabama Development Office, the group includes lawmakers, state officials and private citizens.

“This process will allow both public officials as well as members of the general public to have a meaningful voice in the future of our existing prison infrastructure,” Ivey said in a statement.

A report is due by September 2023, or sooner if the final new prison is complete before then.

The state plans to lease privately built prisons that will be located in Bibb, Elmore and Escambia counties. It is trying to fix years of understaffed, overcrowded prisons.

The U.S. Department of Justice said twice within 18 months that Alabama houses male inmates in unconstitutional conditions for both a pattern of using excessive force by officers and excessive inmate-on-inmate violence.

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