Alabama’s Bureau of Pardons and Paroles says it expects a new short-term residential center focused on rehabilitation and educaiton to open later this month in Perry County.
The facility will be located on Highway 80 in the former private prison building developed near Uniontown.
In an interview with Alabama Daily News last week, Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles director Cam Ward said the facility could become a model for future facilities in the state, including one for women.
Alabama’s state Legislature approved a $15 million purchase deal for the facility last year, and has now announced a $5.1 million contract with GEO Reentry Services (formerly Wackenhut) to operate the facility for the next two years.
Ward said the facility would provide substance abuse and mental health treatment, administerd by GEO, while the state would continue to own and maintain the facility itself.
The facility will be called the Perry County Probation and Parole Reentry Education Program Center, or PREP for short. Ward said he expected it to open later this month with about a dozen parolees. As the facility becomes fully operational, Ward said he expected to house about 200 people at the facility.
The state plans for the facility’s initial focus to be on a seven-county Black Belt area, including Montgomery County.
He said the state had recently entered into an agreement with Ingram State Technical College to establish a training center at PREP. This would offer job training and education. He said the state had also been in talks with businesses about a job placement program for parolees who successfully complete their program at PREP.
Ingram State said all PREP residents would have access to adult education programming and industry certification training beginning in January. There are also plans to construct a new educational building on the Perry County campus to expand those opportunities and offer training in barbering, carpentry, plumbing, and industrial maintence.
Ward said that mental and physical health, as well as stable employment, figure heavily in the state’s overall plan to reduce recidivism and, therefore, Alabama’s overall prison population. The state has come under scrutiny in recent years for overcrowding in its prison system.
Ward has previously said PREP will house parolees who have technical parole violations, such as missed meetings with parole officers or failed drug tests. After repeated technical violations, they’re supposed to go to prison for 45 days under current law. But county jails for years have said those inmates have lingered in the county jails where they’re first sent.
Parolees will spend about 90 days at PREP, but that will vary by individual, Ward said.
The Bureau is also considering establishing a similar center for women in Clarke County, at what is now the LifeTech training center in Thomasville.
In addition to opportunities for the state’s incarcerated population, the facility is also expected to add employment and revenue to the Perry County economy.