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House approves Appleton prison bill

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House of Representatives has approved a bill aimed at reopening the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, announced Tuesday in a news release.

Tom Cherveny / Tribune file photoLocal legislators expect bills they have authored calling on the state to lease or purchase the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton will be receiving hearings in committees in the House and Senate in the coming weeks.
Tribune file photo

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota House of Representatives has approved a bill aimed at reopening the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, announced Tuesday in a news release.

Its approval in the House assures that the measure will be considered as House and Senate conference committees consider legislation. Sen. Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, has authored a companion bill in the Senate.

The legislation calls on the Department of Corrections to purchase and operate or enter into a lease agreement to own and operate the 1,650-bed prison in Appleton. It has not held inmates since February 2010. Its owner, CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America, maintains it as licensed and ready for occupancy.

Miller said his legislation is designed to take advantage of the state-of-the art facility in Appleton to address overcrowding in state prisons.

It is also an economic development issue for Appleton. The reopened prison would provide roughly 300 good-paying union jobs to Swift County residents, Miller said in the news release.

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