Last week, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed an omnibus bill that includes an amendment by Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, to reopen the privately owned Prairie Correctional Facility based In Appleton. The amendment requires the state to contract to operate and purchase or lease to own the 1,600 bed facility.
Swift County Administrator Pogge Weaver is helping to coordinate the Appleton Option effort to promote the benefits of reopening the prison. On March 22, 2016 more than fifty Appleton area residents travelled by bus to the State Capitol to speak in support of Miller’s bill, which has also been introduced by Senator Lyle Koenen in the Senate. The Appleton Option proponents were met by protesters who disrupted the hearing and caused the hearing room to be cleared. The bill eventually passed the House Ways and Means Committee and now with passage by the full House in the omnibus bill, it has taken its biggest step forward, according to the West Central Tribune.
TakeAction Minnesota is part of a coalition of several organizations who strongly oppose the prison bill's passage. In a recent editorial in the Star Tribune Executive Director Dan McGrath stated:
The people of Appleton are justified in demanding that good jobs are created in their community. And people of color and American Indians are justified in demanding that good jobs are created in their communities — and that they not be locked up for profit. Let’s begin the conversation there.
Produced by Pioneer’s Laura Kay Prosser, this Compass episode will also feature a short pre-produced segment that includes some of the testimony from the March 22 hearing in St. Paul. For more information about the issue of the Appleton Prison, visit:
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Last week’s Compass program about Rural Hospitals can be viewed online at www.pioneer.org/compass.
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