On Thursday, the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) released its strategic plan to fix issues in the state's prisons over the next 3 to 4 years.
The main areas of focus are staffing, programming, culture and infrastructure. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) harsh report of Alabama's 13 male prisons says the biggest issue and what led to so much sexual abuse and violence is the fact that the prisons are not staffed with enough correctional officers.
This strategic plan focuses on increasing correctional officer pay and hiring more qualified officers. In the plan, the department says it wants to be more than 85% staffed by 2021. That's not just with more correctional officers, but medical staff too.
The department's next goal is infrastructure, which includes identifying the worst facilities and making improvements to those for inmates and officers. That also includes exploring the long-term possibility of building new prisons.
The department's other focus area is culture, in improving the environment ADOC staff are in by offering employee wellness programs and stronger communication. The department's final focus area is programming, which will focus on more rehabilitation programs for inmates to reduce their chances of committing crimes when they are released.
The ADOC just hired some 50 correctional officers. The plan is to hire hundreds more in the coming years in this strategic plan. Lawmakers told WAAY 31 they don't believe the DOJ will sue the state because they are working together to fix Alabama's prison issues.
Lawmakers want Governor Ivey to call a special session so they can pass prison reform laws. One of those bills would have to do with sentencing guidelines, which means less people would go to an Alabama prison.
The House will now vote on the state's new budget that gives an additional $46 million to the ADOC to help fund its strategic plan.
This press release, plan and video were released Thursday:
The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) is pleased to share its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, which will serve as an actionable roadmap to reverse long-standing challenges and to transform corrections in Alabama. The plan outlines concentrated efforts over the next three years in four strategic focus areas: staffing, infrastructure, programming and culture.
“We recognize the magnitude and scope of the challenges faced by our Department and are working tirelessly to implement solutions to those issues,” said ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn. “We have a generational opportunity to reform and reshape corrections in Alabama, and this plan will guide efforts as the Department works alongside many partners.”
The Department began the strategic planning process in early 2018, and the plan was developed after extensive feedback from Department staff and observations from leadership, which included due diligence from focus groups, interviews and surveys. The ADOC has designated a task force team for each strategic focus area. These teams will routinely visit each ADOC facility throughout the strategic plan implementation process to help drive efforts and to measure success.
“We have already begun implementing strategies outlined in the plan, including a comprehensive workforce development campaign which has seen significant success,” said Dunn. “We are eager to commence efforts on the additional activities outlined in the plan to continue building a stronger ADOC.”
Activities within the strategic plan include but are not limited to: recruitment efforts to generate a fully staffed, high-quality workforce, including professional security, health care, and support personnel; design, develop and construct large, new regional correctional complexes; improve evidence-based rehabilitative programs for ADOC inmates; develop a gender-based classification system; and launch a correctional work site wellness program.