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Swift County wants to revive effort to reopen prison

The front gate of the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton is shown in this undated file photo. The privately owned prison has not held inmates since February 2010. West Central Tribune file photo

APPLETON — The Swift County Board of Commissioners is taking another try at winning state support for reopening the Appleton prison.

The commissioners informally agreed at their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5, that they would seek support for reopening the shuttered, privately owned prison. They instructed County Administrator Kelsey Baker to launch the effort with letters to neighboring counties asking for their support.

Baker will also be contacting local legislators for their continued support.

Commissioner Pete Peterson raised the issue of taking another run at gaining state support. He noted that there is a new governor and new commissioner of corrections.

The county commissioners said they have not been in recent contact with CoreCivic, the facility's owner, about efforts to reopen it. Commissioner Gary Hendrickx said the company has been supportive of past efforts seeking support.

The county has supported legislation in previous years asking 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.

Tom Cherveny

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

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