Senator Westrom co-authors Appleton prison bill

Senator Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake), has co-authored SF 3192, a bipartisan piece of legislation that re-opens the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, Minnesota. Currently, Minnesota faces a prison overcrowding issue, placing an increasing burden on the state’s correctional system. Closed in 2010, the Appleton facility has the potential to house up to 1,600 inmates. The private facility, managed by Corrections Corporation of America, will be leased to the state of Minnesota for between $6-8 million annually, a tremendous savings over traditional publicly owned prisons.

“Not only does the Appleton prison facility serve to solve Minnesota’s prison overcrowding issue, but it will provide a tremendous boost to Minnesota’s rural economy,” said Senator Westrom. “And that’s in addition to the cost savings incurred by the State of Minnesota. At the end of the day, this is a commonsense win-win-win proposal.”

The legislation is facing opposition in the senate from DFL members, as Majority leader Tom Bakk [D-Cook] recently signed onto SF 2768, a bill prohibiting the use of private prison facilities. This sets up a potential showdown in the senate. In the State House, Rep. Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) passed the bill out of the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee, where it is likely to succeed on the house floor.


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