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Appleton prison may reopen, house California prisoners

APPLETON -- The Prairie Correction Facility at Appleton may reopen in 2012 and house prisoners from California.

According to a news release from Corrections Corporation of America, the owner of the vacant prison, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation intends to award a new contract to CCA to manage up to 3,256 offenders at the Appleton facility and CCA's Crowley County Correctional Facility in Colorado.

CCA's news release noted that the potential awards are not expected to result in inmates until 2012 and that the company does not have any specific timeframe related to employee hiring at the 1,600-bed Prairie facility, but does not expect to take action in the near term.

"CCA has consistently had a strong commitment to the Appleton community and to our dedicated employees who served at our Prairie facility. Since having closed the facility in February 2010, our team has continuously worked to find a new government contract so we could once again bring needed jobs and strong correctional operations back to the local community," said Steve Conry, vice president, CCA Operations in Minnesota.

"While it is much too early for us to know the exact timing of the potential re-opening of Prairie, we assure the Appleton community and all former Prairie employees that we will keep open the lines of communication and will provide information as soon as we have news to share," he said.

The prison closed in February after Minnesota removed 200 inmates from the facility and moved them to state-owned facilities in January, leaving no inmates.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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