Cost of building ‘super-size prison’ rises to more than US$1 billion

Montgomery, Alabama, US

The cost of building a new super-size prison in Alabama, US, has risen to more than US$1 billion.

The Alabama Corrections Institution Finance Authority has approved a final price of US$1.08 billion for the prison, currently under construction in Elmore County.

In 2021 US$1.3 billion was allocated for the construction of two prisons, but rising costs mean that just one prison will cost more than US$1 billion.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement blaming inflation for the price escalation, but said the facility is needed.

The planned 4,000-bed prison in Elmore County, including facilities for medical care and vocational training, is expected to be completed in May of 2026, according to the contract terms.

Rising construction costs are an issue globally, but the US has been hit especially hard. In a ranking of the world’s ten most expensive cities to build in the world earlier this year there were four US cities in the top ten.

A body representing contractors in the US recently warned that incoming regulations on the provenance of construction products and materials brought about by the Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA) could lead to further price rises in the sector.

The Finance Authority in March increased the authorised spending on the first prison from about US$623 million to US$975 million. The latest action approved spending of a little more than US$1 billion, which state officials said is the final price for the project.

Rex Reynolds, chairman of the House General Fund budget committee, said the price of labour, concrete and other materials have risen since lawmakers approved the project.

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