Alabama to Spend Nearly $1 Billion for a Single Prison


Alabama state officials voted last week to increase the amount the state will pay a private company to build a new prison in Elmore County to nearly $1 billion.

The resolution was passed by the Alabama Correctional Institution Finance Authority, a group of seven state officials who have final authority over all financial decisions related to building or leasing state prisons.

In April 2022, Alabama signed a contract with Montgomery-based Caddell Construction Company to build a 4,000-bed prison in Elmore County. The “initial guaranteed maximum price” for the prison was $623 million with construction to be completed by January 2026. 

The resolution passed last week raised the maximum price to $975 million—a 57% increase—and pushed back completion to June 2026.

The contract to build the Elmore facility was given to Caddell after Alabama lawmakers passed a bill allowing state agencies to circumvent the standard competitive bid process.

The director of the Legislative Services Agency said signing a deal with Caddell without soliciting bids from other companies would save the state $75 million by “locking in material costs sooner.”

This is the second billion-dollar commitment made by the Alabama Department of Corrections in two months. In February, ADOC entered a $1 billion contract with private prison medical provider YesCare (formerly Corizon).

The billion-dollar contract for a single 4,000-bed prison is roughly equivalent to the budget of the entire Alabama Department of Mental Health, which provides services to more than 200,000 Alabamians annually.