State commissioner: State prisons overcrowded

Published 3:06 pm Thursday, January 15, 2009

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Richard Allen has told legislators state prisons are extremely overcrowded and understaffed.

Allen said Thursday if his budget is cut in the coming fiscal year because of the recession, the situation will become more critical.

Gov. Bob Riley has ordered most state agencies to cut their budgets by 10 percent for the current fiscal year. But Riley said he didn’t impose that on corrections because of its problems.

Allen told lawmakers it would be impossible to cut the budget for prisons by 10 percent without releasing inmates and closing facilities.

Allen said there are currently more than 25,000 inmates in a system built to house about 13,000.