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 Representative Falk Discusses Appleton Prison

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PostSubject: Representative Falk Discusses Appleton Prison   Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:45 am

Falk and Kubly continue to discuss future of Prairie Correctional Facility

Following the closure of Prairie Correctional Facility (PCF) in Appleton on Feb. 2, state Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, and State Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, requested a meeting with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the owner and operator of the facility. On Feb. 10, Kubly and Falk met with Brad Regens, Vice President of State Customer Relations; Tony Grande, Chief Development Officer; and Kelly Durham, Senior Director of Business Development; to discuss the future of the Appleton prison.

“Prairie Correctional Facility was a major employer for our area, so we had some concerns about what this closure means for these employees. We really appreciated that CCA was willing to come to meet with us,” said Sen. Kubly.

“While we would have liked to learn something more definitive, we were pleased to find out that it’s CCA’s top priority to make use of the facility and bring back these employees,” added Rep. Falk.

The decision to close the Prairie Correctional Facility was business-based, due to an insufficient inmate population. Because the states with inmates at PCF decided to remove their prisoners due to budget constraints, Minnesota’s inmates housed at PCF were transferred to other prisons throughout the state. The prisoners being held for the state of Washington have returned to their home state as well.

While the prison is empty, CCA is currently working to upgrade the facility so that it could accept Level 4 prisoners in the future. This has not been possible in the past and should increase PCF’s marketability.

At the meeting, Sen. Kubly and Rep. Falk offered a suggestion to make use of the Appleton facility.

“Our state’s sex offender population is growing and will soon exceed the space available to them in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program in Moose Lake. Some have advocated building an expansion to this facility, which adjoins the Moose Lake prison,” explained Sen. Kubly. “We have suggested a proposal to CCA that perhaps the state could allow the Department of Health to use a portion of the Moose Lake prison for sex offender treatment, and transfer the prison inmates to PCF. CCA was receptive to this idea, so it is something we are currently discussing with our legislative colleagues.”

The legislators noted that moving the non-sex offender population to PCF while the state upgrades a portion of the Moose Lake prison to a sex offender treatment facility would likely give PCF enough prisoners to operate for another 18 to 24 months. Kubly and Falk also feel this option could save the state substantial dollars over a new facility.

“At the meeting, Sen. Kubly and I once again extended our offer to CCA to help them highlight the successes of the facility and the quality of the workforce as they continue to pursue new inmate contracts,” said Rep. Falk. “With the upgrades to the facility and a strong commitment from the company, we expect that Prairie Correctional Facility will be in operation once again.”

Anyone with comments or questions about this legislation can contact Sen. Kubly’s State Capitol office at 651-296-5094 or Rep. Falk’s State Office Building office at 651-296-4228.
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