A state lawmaker proposing to close Green Bay Correctional Institution and then construct a new prison in the Green Bay area, is hopeful it will still happen. While Governor Tony Evers says he’s not funding the project, Representative Dave Steffen believes a soon to be released report will change his mind.
Representative David Steffen (R-Green Bay) is frustrated that his proposal to replace the 120-year-old Green Bay Correctional Institution with a new prison nearby has hit a roadblock.
“I was a bit disappointed to be quite frank, but let’s be clear, the governor is new to the office and he also didn’t have all the information necessary to make the right decision,” said Steffen.
Wednesday Governor Tony Evers said he won’t put money in his upcoming budget to fund Steffen’s plan. But he did acknowledge “it’s something we have to weigh.” And Steffen is confident the governor might change his mind when a Comprehensive Prison Facilities Report, expected last fall, is finally released.
“GBCI is the most dangerous place in the state of Wisconsin,” said Steffen. “That facility was designed for 749 inmates and it’s housing close to 1100. I’m confident that when that new report comes out in the next 30 to 45 days, it will support and substantiate the closure of GBCI,” the lawmaker said.
That is also the hope of Allouez Village Administrator Brad Lange, who says closing the prison would open up 50 acres of property for redevelopment, creating over a million dollars in new tax revenue.
“The opportunity for us to have a redevelopment or some growth in our community is extremely vital for us, to continue to do what we want to do,” Lange said.
“By having a new facility we’ll be able to save taxpayers $150 million over just the next decade, provide a safer environment for those workers and enhance recidivism programs for those inmates,” Steffen said.
Steffen plans to meet with Gov. Evers to continue the discussion.