“Some have got so desperate that they have sold their soul to the devil”*

Representative Tim Miller (17A )

Representative Tim Miller (17A )

Representatives of Swift County, Minnesota, went to the Minnesota Legislature this week to lobby for reopening a vacant private prison, the Prairie Correctional Facility, in Appleton, in Swift County, belonging to the much-despised Corrections Corporation of America.

Citizens strongly objected, to the point of disrupting the hearing:

   Duluth News Tribune story.

Minnesota Public Radio story.

Governor Mark Dayton has stated his opposition and promised a veto.

The “chief author” of HF3223, the bill to reopen the prison, is Rep. Tim Miller, from Prinsburg, in Kandiyohi County, an hour’s drive Southeast of the vacant prison.  Prinsburg has been written up as “Minnesota’s most conservative city“.

The operative language is “(j) The commissioner [of corrections], in order to address bed capacity shortfalls, shall enter into a contract to lease and operate an existing prison facility with a capacity of at least 1,500 beds located in Appleton, Minnesota.”

In the link also see the listing of 22 other “authors” (sponsors) of HF3223.

Rep. Miller has issued a statement:  “… It’s time for Governor Dayton to finally address this crisis by supporting the re-opening of the Prairie Correctional Facility and providing hundreds of good-paying union jobs to unemployed Swift County residents.

Contact info for Rep. Miller: rep.tim.miller@house.mn , 651-296-4228 (office) 320-905-1010 (home).

According to the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board, Corrections Corporation of America currently has three registered lobbyists in Minnesota:

Kelly Durham, CCA, kelly.durham@cca.com , 615-263-3000
Todd A. Hill, Hill Capitol Strategies Inc., todd@hillcapitolstrategies.com , 612-961-5106 (See who else he represents: http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/lbdetail/lb88.html )
Brad Regens, CCA, brad.regens@cca.com , 615-263-3000

Benson, the county seat of Swift County, is already known for the infamous “Fibrominn” (now called Benson Power) turkey poop incinerator that pollutes the area.

These are the Commissioners of Swift County.  They need to hear from you that the prison should not be reopened:

gary.hendrickx@co.swift.mn.us (320) 289-2649 (home)
edward.pederson@co.swift.mn.us (320) 843-3376 (home)
pete.peterson@co.swift.mn.us (320) 394-2157 (home)
joe.fox@co.swift.mn.us (320) 394-2157 (home)
eric.rudningen@co.swift.mn.us (320) 264-0216 (home)

NO Prison reopening!

It is hard to read, or think, about all this without wondering “What is the matter with all these people?”  Well, it seems that, “Some have got so desperate that they have sold their soul to the devil”*

*Ian Kantoen, campus organizer for the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, quoted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press

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