Gov. Bentley’s prison plan draws concerns at public hearing

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Gov. Robert Bentley’s plan to build four new state prisons with an $800 million bond issue has attracted scrutiny in a public hearing.

Media outlets report that during Wednesday’s public hearing, contractors, architects and engineers voiced concern about one aspect – a plan to let one company handle both design and construction of the prisons.

The Bentley administration believes it can save money by awarding a single contract for both design and construction.

John Hilyer, vice president of Bear Brothers, was among the industry professionals who spoke. He says taxpayers are better protected by keeping the design and construction separate.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Steve Clouse says there will be another public hearing before the committee votes on the legislation, which is meant to address the state’s problem with overcrowded, understaffed prisons.