Speech to Text for Deadline approaching for Alabama to show Department of Justice it's improving prisons
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investigators said violence, sexual assault, drug abuse, and corruption is running rampant in the state's 13 male prisons. and alabama is violating the u-s constitution. thanks for joining us. i'm najahe sherman. dan shaffer is out on assignment. waay31's breken terry is investigating the situation tonight and joins us live in florence. breken, is alabama close to being sued by the federal government? lawmakers in montgomery tell me they don't think the federal government will sue alabama over this, because they said conversations with us attorney jay towns office are going well and they are trying to show the federal government how they are complying with changes since this report came out 49 days ago. ward- those conditions are absolutely horrendous and i think everyone up here would agree with that. the notion that we allow that to continue is terrible. alabama lawmakers admit they know how bad the prisons are. the justice department demanded some immediate fixes like properly scanning people when they enter any alabama prison, and conducting more shakedowns for contraband. the department of corrections did a shake down at holman correctional facility in april. they found 356 makeshift weapons, 91 grams of meth, 98 grams of pot, cocaine, and more than 400 pills and 16 cellphones. ward- i think the biggest key is this i think what the department of justice is looking for and what judge thompson is looking for, and i'm speaking for me not them, but what i think they are looking for is they want to show were making a good faith effort as a legislative and executive branch of government to try and comply with their concerns and i think in the conversations we've had i think were improving that and i don't think we will have a lawsuit. since the federal report at least 3 correctional officers have been arrested for bringing in prison contraband along with a few civilians trying to sneak stuff into the prisons. lawmakers said that shows some form of improvement. ward- we have to show that were making a good faith effort. if it ever comes up that were ignoring them then therein lies your problem that's where other states have gotten in trouble. lawmakers are calling for governor ivey to give them a special session so they can pass prison reform bills. ivey's office told us all options are on the table. if alabama can't fix it's prison problems then the federal government can sue the state and take over. ward- the choice is pretty simple. it's this either the men and women house republicans democrat and republicans in this chamber in this legislature fix this and we fix it now or we will just let a judge do it for us. that's the options we have. minutes ago, i heard from u-s attorney jay town's office. they told me .. no lawsuit yet. they're continuing to work with the state to come to a resolution. yesterday, the senate passed a budget which gives 46 million dollars to the department of corrections... that would include hiring 50-additional corrections officers. the budget now goes to the house. live in flo bt waay31 news. the department of corrections will release it's strategic plan to the public tomorrow. we know it will focus on four main areas: infrastructure, programming, culture, and staffing. the budget now goes to the house. live in flo bt waay31 news. the department of corrections will release it's strategic plan to the public tomorrow. we know it will focus on four main areas: infrastructure, programming, culture, and staffing. all of our previous reporting on this story -- as well as today's story -- is online at waay t-v dot com!