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CCA to close Appleton prison

APPLETON -- Corrections Corporation of America plans to close its Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton on February 1, 2010.

Warden Tim Wengler notified the facility's remaining 125 employees of the decision this morning.

Minnesota will be removing the last of its 200 inmates currently in the private facility at the end of January, and that will leave the 1,600-bed facility without any remaining inmates, according to information from CCA.

Minnesota and the state of Washington have been slowly removing their inmates from PCF this year due to the availability of space in their own prison systems, according to CCA.

In early Oct., PCF announced plans to lay-off 120 employees by Dec. 1.

It is planning to host a job fair in mid-December for the laid-off employees. CCA is also offering opportunities to the employees to fill openings at the other 64 correctional facilities it operates in the country, according to Louise Grant, vice president of marketing and communications with the company's Nashville, Tenn., headquarters office.

Grant said the company will continue efforts to aggressively market the facility and negotiate a contract to hold inmates from other states.

CCA is among the companies that have responded to a request for proposals from the state of Pennsylvania, which is looking to house an excess inmate population. Grant said Pennsylvania has not made a decision on the responses it has received. It has not indicated when it would, she added.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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