Bonding requests in Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard bonding proposals this week from the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety. The hearing was informational, and the committee took no action on the proposals.

Minnesota’s prisons are facing challenges from increasing offender populations and aging infrastructure. The Department of Corrections requested:

  • $40 million for ongoing building maintenance needs.
  • $5.2 million to convert a vacant building at the Lino Lakes Correctional Facility to a housing unit for 60 offenders.
  • $1.7 million to expand the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) at the Willow River Correctional Facility. CIP is a rigorous curriculum some offenders are eligible to apply for that gives them enhanced treatment, training and education opportunities in prison. CIP has been proven to reduce the chance that an offender will return to prison for another offense.
  • $16.2 million for plumbing and ventilation upgrades to the St. Cloud Correctional Facility.

The Department of Public Safety requested $33.6 million to build a new Statewide Emergency Operations Center. The current SEOC, located in downtown Saint Paul, is 40,000 square feet smaller than engineers recommend for the type of facility, lacks modern electrical and communications equipment, and has security concerns. The proposed facility would be built on land that’s available free of charge on the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills, and would also house the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.