Legislation authored by House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler and state Senator Ron Latz of St. Louis Park that would ban private prisons in Minnesota was heard the House Corrections Division Tuesday morning. HF 1237 was held over for inclusion in a future Corrections bill. SF 1678 is the Senate companion. There is only one privately-owned prison in the state, Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton. Winkler Tuesday said criminal justice is a core responsibility of government...

...If enacted, the bill would prohibit the Department of Corrections and county sheriffs from housing inmates in facilities that are not owned and operated by the state, a local unit of government, or a group of local units of government. Senator Ron Latz Tuesday said “Considering the Trump administration’s decision to reverse the Justice Department’s plan to end the use of private prisons, time is of the essence to act here in Minnesota on the use of private prisons."

Representative Tim Miller of Prinsburg represents Appleton, and ripped Winkler's bill, saying "With this bill, Rep. Winkler is proposing to make illegal a duly operated and licensed business in Minnesota. Because he is from Golden Valley, which is right next door to Minneapolis, I am guessing he doesn't understand the effect of a major employer being forced to close by law. He has thousands of businesses and organizations that are job providers in his community. Appleton has a few dozen.” Miller also said Winkler "has no understanding of the proposals we have presented for the last four years which is for the State to own and operate the facility. If this bill is signed into law, it will devastate Appleton and the region. Governor Walz has called on our government to operate as "One Minnesota." Rep. Winkler is proving once again what this means is ‘One Minneapolis.’”

Representative Miller has proposed HF 272 and HF 291 which would allow the State to purchase or lease Prairie Correctional Facility.

Swift County Administrator Kelsey Baker says they plan to spread the word about the existance and availability of PCF...

...Baker sees Winkler's as a positive because it gets the word out about PCF and efforts to shut them down.