Appeals for criminal justice reform, rather than increasing the number of prison beds in Minnesota have taken root in the Dayton administration. Forum Communications political reporter Don Davis writes in Dayton rejects plan to reopen Appleton prison:
Gov. Mark Dayton will not ask legislators to fix a prison overcrowding problem by borrowing state money to reopen a west-central Minnesota private prison or to expand existing state prisons like his corrections commissioner has suggested, he said Thursday. . . .
The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission last month approved a plan to reduce sentences for many drug offenders, which would reduce pressure on packed prisons. The prison task force has discussed other sentence reductions, too, some of which may take legislative action.
Update: Critics of the effort to reopen the private prison or to expand public prison beds praised the effort. Witness ISAIAHMN organizer Lars Negstad's tweet:
Nonetheless, Swift County and its lobbyists will persist, Davis reports:
Swift County and the city of Appleton will continue to work to promote the advantages of the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, according to Swift County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver.
“We’re certainly pleased that expanding Rush City or any other facility is not being considered by the State of Minnesota, especially considering there is a vacant and ready to be occupied building here in Swift County,’’ said Pogge-Weaver Thursday when informed of the governor’s statements.
Pogge-Weaver and other members of the local task force will be in St. Paul on Friday for meeting of the prison population task force convened by the Legislature. They will continue to make their point that if the state needs more prison space, the Appleton facility remains the most logical answer.
Here's the video of the Task Force meeting:
Bluestem first started covering Swift County's stratagem with our August 11 post Swift Co hires Goff Public to work on reopening CCA private prison to solve state's inmate binge. Additional posts followed.
Photo: The CCA private prison in Appleton, West Central Tribune file photo.
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