The private prison in Appleton is closing, which means 125 jobs gone from the west central town of 2,700 people, report the Star Tribune and MPR. The job loss is only part of what looks like a disaster to Appleton. Mayor Ron Ronning, who also works at the prison, told the Star Tribune:
The prison supports about 60 percent of the city’s budget, paying Appleton about $1.1 million a year in taxes and water bills, the mayor said. “The community is going to suffer quite a bit,” he said…
For now, [the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which owns the prison, says,] “It is our hope that a large number of the Prairie staff will consider relocating to one of CCA’s other 64 correctional facilities during this indefinite closure.”
MPR notes two of the factors causing a drop in the Prairie Correctional Facility prison population from 1,200 in 2007 to 214 today:
The number of methamphetamine-related offenders in the state’s prison system decreased from a high of 1,138 in 2006 to 928 last year.
Over the same time period, the Faribault Correctional Facility has doubled its capacity to 2,005 beds.