APPLETON — A proposal that would reopen the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton took its biggest step forward to date.
The Minnesota House of Representatives approved an omnibus bill early Friday morning that includes an amendment by Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, to reopen the 1,600-bed prison. The amendment requires the state to contract to operate and purchase or lease to own the privately owned Prairie Correctional Facility.
Senator Lyle Koenen has introduced SF 3594 a bill to have the Commissioner of Correction to negotiation a contract to purchase or lease to buy the Appleton Prison. This bill follows a similar track of what is being undertook in the House. You can see the full bill here.
The Minnesota House last night passed a government funding bill that includes language calling on the state to lease Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton to alleviate prison overcrowding. The bill's sponsor, Representative Tim Miller of Prinsburg, says even though the state is working on reducing drug sentences to cut down on prison overcrowding, that, in itself, won't be enough...
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ST. PAUL (MNN) - The state would lease the currently-closed private prison in Appleton and re-open it using state employees, under a measure headed for a vote on the Minnesota House floor.
The House Ways and Means Committee approves and sends to the full house a bill to purchase or lease to buy the Appleton Prison
The House Ways and Means Committee just approved and sent to the full House of Representatives House File 3467. As part of approving the bill the committee amended the bill to have the Commissioner of Correction to negotiation a contract to purchase or lease to buy the Appleton Prison. Stay tuned for more on this breaking update.
The Minnesota House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee will take up an amendment that the Commissioner of Corrections shall attempt to complete negotiations by January 1, 2017, of a contract to operate and purchase or lease with an option to buy the Appleton Prison. The meeting starts at 1:30.
You can view the amendment here: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/d0d779f4-2253-480f-8c4d-16d3eea23213.pdf.
The meeting will stream live on House TV 1: http://www.house.mn/htv/schedule.asp.
Continue to contact the Governor and your legislators. Information on how to contact them can be found here: http://www.appletonoption.org/call-to-action.html
Under a proposal in the Legislature, the private Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, Minn., closed since 2010, would be reopened as a state-run facility in order to help alleviate overcrowding.
Minnesota state prisons are full to overflowing, the result of longer, tougher sentencing and a reluctance by legislators to bear the costs of more inmates who spend more years incarcerated at taxpayer expense.
The outlook is bleak for a proposal to reopen Prairie Correctional Facility, a private prison in Swift County.
Over the past month, a protest temporarily shut down a legislative hearing on the bill, the state’s top prison commissioner called it “the antithesis of America” and Gov. Mark Dayton vowed to veto if it passed. Last Friday, the bill missed a critical deadline in the Senate, making even sponsor Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, cautiously pessimistic it will succeed this year.
“I could be wrong,” added Koenen. “Things change fast here.”
In an April 7 commentary regarding the prison in Appleton, Minn. (“Reopen prison in Appleton, and Minnesotans will lose”) Dan McGrath of TakeAction Minnesota muddied the waters of what should be a clear decision for the Legislature.
We have too many inmates in our county jails, where they are given few if any opportunities for the rehabilitation or treatment that can be found in our state prisons. It’s projected that we will have even more inmates in the future, and we just don’t have room.
As a former employee of Prairie Correctional Facility, which closed its doors in 2010, I believe the prison facility has a vital solution to overcrowding in the state’s prison system, but can give a solution to the mentally ill as well.
State Senator Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, has co-authored a bipartisan bill that would re-open the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton.
Currently, Minnesota faces a prison overcrowding issue, placing an increasing burden on the state’s correctional system, Westrom noted.