Do you support the reopening of a private prison in Appleton?

“A Minnesota House panel on Tuesday approved Republican-backed legislation that would reopen the privately owned prison in Appleton, Minn., under state management,” writes MPR News Tim Pugmire.

Supporters see the move as a way to create some much-needed jobs in a struggling part of rural western Minnesota. Opponents, however, argued there would be a high human price to such economic development. Their loud objections forced lawmakers to briefly shut down the public hearing.

Committee members later approved the bill 10-7 on a party-line vote with Republicans supporting and Democrats against. Those divisions are likely to remain as it moves through the Legislature. Lawmakers expect to have a clearer estimate of the bill’s cost by its next committee stop.

Legislators should be talking about closing prisons, not opening more, said the Rev. Brian Herron of the faith-based coalition group ISAIAH.

“There’s no way you’re going to open something and not find a way to fill it,” he told lawmakers. “It’s going to be filled with black and brown bodies. We already know that.”

State Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill with a statewide ban on private prisons. Hilstrom said the state had good reasons for ending its relationship with CCA six years ago. She said the company cherry-picked prisoners and failed to provide state-required services.

“It was Gov. Pawlenty in 2010 who stopped renting beds,” Hilstrom said. “So, this isn’t a Democratic or a Republican issue. This is about doing right for the state of Minnesota.”

Today’s Question: Do you support the reopening of a private prison in Appleton?

  • Ruckabumpkus

    I’m categorically opposed to private prisons, so, No. There are some government responsibilities that should not be privatized. Among those are anything to do with law enforcement, corrections, security and defense (so we should also quit hiring mercenaries — a.k.a. “defense contractors”.)

    • Gary F

      THE STATE IS JUST LEASING THE PRISON !!!! The state will be providing ALL the workers for this place. The company that owns it IS NOT RUNNING IT!

  • PaulJ

    If the state manages it well; it would seem to be a less expensive option than building another facility. I suppose the state rents all sorts of stuff from private companies.

  • whitedoggie44

    I am confused by the protest- is this the new left agenda- do the crime but no worries as you will not do any time which will allow opportunity to commit another crime? Perhaps the democrats can run on this agenda? I have heard comrade Bernie state he will be releasing 50% of all federal prisoners if elected. Am I happy I live in Texas.

    • Gary F

      Catch and Release, is not just fishing policy on Mil Lacs Lake, but a DFL policy on criminals.

      • Mr. Toad

        Once again: YAWN.

    • KTN

      How long exactly should a person be locked up – is it life for all crimes (which is what it appears the law and order ilk proffer, or once the sentence is complete is it okay to then release them.

      • whitedoggie44

        absolutely agree with you and for the record I believe drug sentences in this country are absurd but no so with violent criminals. Not a believer in the root cause crap pushed by the left. They tried this in the 1970’s but crime went through the roof in this country until politicians realized a crackdown was required if they ever wanted to be reelected.

    • Mr. Toad

      //new left agenda// that’s rich. I’ll be encouraging Bernie to send the released prisoners to your neighborhood..

  • Gary F

    1. The state would run the prison with STATE employees.
    2. The state is only leasing the property. The company that owns the property IS NOT RUNNING THE OPERATIONS!

    The details of this proposal are so muddied by the media.

    The STATE is housing it’s overflow inmates in COUNTY jails that aren’t equipped to handle long term prisoners. The county jails don’t have the support systems needed.

    I’m still not sure what the objection is, it makes so much sense this just baffles me.

    • Ruckabumpkus

      Yeah, so that makes it a little less bad, but the fact that private prisons were ever built in the first place is a sign of privatization run amok. Our prisons are overflowing because we incarcerate too many people. We have a higher incarceration rate than most countries in the world, but our streets are no safer because of it. We need to study what works in other countries and learn from their experiences. More prisons is not the answer.

      And, isn’t this the kind of publicly funded job creation bill you usually oppose, Gary?

      • Gary F

        I believe that prisons do more than just encarserate people. Right now we are holding people in county prisons because we have no room in state prisons. County prisons fewer support and rehabilitation programs that state prisons offer. I don’t look at this as a jobs program. I look as it being cheaper and faster than building a new one.

        What baffles me also is that Democrats are against all these new government union jobs. That’s a lot of automatic campaign money.

        • Ruckabumpkus

          Oh, right, those “support and rehabilitation programs” that conservatives decry as coddling criminals. Finding cheaper ways to incarcerate people misses the point entirely. We’d have a much lower crime rate and save money in the long run if we’d move a bunch of our spending out of law enforcement and prisons, and put it into education and youth programs. We can start by legalizing cannabis and ending the “war on drugs,” and using the money we save on that to fund universal kindergarten and pre-K.

        • Mr. Toad

          sp: incarcerate

        • Mr. Toad

          We can fill up Appleton to the breaking point and start double-bunking in solitary.

  • lindblomeagles

    Turning prison systems into job creators doesn’t ethically or socially sound like a good idea. Like a school or a hospital, somebody has to fill the jail cells, a lot of somebodies, in order to generate new jobs. The US Constitution is supposed to protect American citizens from being rounded up and imprisoned on a government whim, and there is no greater whim than placing some of the population in prison just so the other part of the population gets a steady paycheck. Have we not learned anything from our bittersweet American historical past? Four sets of Americans have had to fight some time or another for freedom. Do we really want to “deny freedom to others” while giving another group of others “more freedom” or is there a way to create jobs without shackling somebody to a plantation, chaining other somebodies to the kitchen sink and living room sofa, forcing more others to move far away from their lands, and denying still others the rights and liberties that the Creator already endowed?

  • Jane Conrad

    Gov. Pawlenty was the first to allow private prisons run by CCA and was the first to order them closed because of human rights abuses. We don’t need more prisoners we need to understand why we have the number one incarceration rate the world. Most prisoners are in for non-violant drug offenses. Therefore, wouldn’t it be cheaper to give them drug treatment than imprison them for years? CCA has a host of human rights abuses from lack of edible fodd, healthcare, beatings by othe inmates and guards, rapes by guards and inmates and even death. It’s time to look at the real reason we have prison overcrowding.