Alabama prison officials say they are increasing staffing in response to a federal judge’s ruling this summer that slammed the Department of Corrections for its failure to treat inmates suffering from mental health issues.

The state, in a document filed this week in federal court, said it has stepped up efforts to recruit and train correctional officers, and two months ago began a process that will nearly double the staff of professionals working to address mental health issues in its prisons, according to a report by the Associated Press.

But here’s the catch: Making long-term improvements will require about $10 million annually, and the prison system doesn’t have the money. Corrections officials said it is up to the Legislature and the governor to provide the money, and that if they do not the department reserved the right to end the improvement plan.

In June, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a scathing 302-page decision against the state, and ordered Alabama to improve conditions in its prison system. Thompson focused much of his attention on the woeful manner in which inmates with mental illnesses are treated, calling the care they received “horrendously inadequate.”

The judge pointed to a “skyrocketing suicide rate” among inmates. Meanwhile, inmates and correctional officers throughout the prison system have been the victims of violent attacks at a remarkable rate in the past few years.

The prison system’s response this week is, in effect, a promise to place a Band-Aid on a festering, infected wound. Meanwhile, it nothing to address the overcrowding issue. Alabama prisons are estimated to be at about 173 percent of capacity.

Back in 2014, several inmates sued the prison system, claiming that the state failed to provide basic medical and mental health care. According to the Associated Press report, about 3,300 inmates in state prisons have been identified as having mental health issues. With such inadequate staffing and care, it is reasonable to assume that number is actually much higher and many more have not been identified.

The biggest impact of the state’s inability to address the prison system issues is felt in local communities. Local sheriff’s offices and local jails are stuck with a revolving door, with many of the same inmates returning time and again. As a result, those who do graduate through the system from a local jail to a state facility are not receiving an adequate opportunity to rehabilitate. With little resources to provide enough mental health care, drug counseling or job training, the state is guaranteeing that the recidivism rate will never improve.

If the state’s response continues to be so inadequate, it faces the very real threat of a federal takeover of the prison system. When that happened in California in 2011, the federal government demanded that 46,000 prisoners be released early from their sentences to ease overcrowding.

If lawmakers do not make the prison situation a top priority in the next legislative session, the state stands to set itself up for a much larger future expense.