September 28, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) released the following statement regarding the plan by Alabama officials to build new prisons using $400 million of federal COVID-19 relief funds from the American Rescue Plan:
“In March, I proudly joined my Democratic colleagues in voting to pass the American Rescue Plan, transformational legislation designed to protect our people and rescue our economy from the COVID-19 pandemic. The package included critically important relief for Alabama workers, families and businesses, and over $2 billion for the State of Alabama to aid in its COVID-19 response.
“I am deeply disturbed to learn that the State of Alabama is considering a plan to use $400 million of COVID-19 aid from the American Rescue Plan to build prisons, especially as COVID-19 rages on in our state! Alabama currently has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the country. To be clear, the current state of the Alabama prison system is abhorrent, but the use of COVID-19 relief funds to pay for decades of our state’s neglect is simply unacceptable.
“COVID-19 relief money should be used for COVID-19 relief. Period.”
The Alabama Legislature met on Monday during a special session to consider the plan. Committee meetings began this morning.