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What's next for the Green Bay Correctional Institution? Discussion to be held

Allouez community leaders say the cost to bring the Green Bay Correctional Institution up to code would be too much, and they're hoping to transform the space in the next four to five years.
Posted at 3:00 AM, Apr 23, 2024

ALLOUEZ (NBC 26) — A round-table discussion is taking place later this morning in Madison about what to do with the Green Bay Correctional Institution.

Allouez community leaders say they want the more than century-old facility to shut its doors.

"There are 133 people in Madison that can make a difference at GBCI. It's the Assembly, the Senate and the Governor. They all work in that building. So, we're going to bring it to them," said Allouez Village President Jim Rafter.

Rafter is traveling to Madison, and he says he hopes to persuade state lawmakers to begin the process of shutting down the Green Bay Correctional Institution.

"The conditions inmates have to live in right now are terrible. They've been on lockdown since pretty much last June. So, about a year. There are people there with mental health needs. Locking them up in a cell for a year isn't going to help," Rafter said.

During a lockdown, the inmates' mobility is limited around the prison, and they're typically kept in their cell.

Rafter said not only are conditions less than ideal for inmates, but the Department of Corrections also struggles to find guards to work at the aging institution even though the D.O.C. recently offered pay raises to guards.

"I am hoping the governor and the legislature will listen to us, do the right thing, and commit to closing GBCI in the upcoming budget," Rafter said.

If approved, lawmakers would need at least four years to find a new space and build a different correctional institution for existing inmates.

After closing, Rafter says the Village of Allouez would like to transform the area from Webster to the river into office buildings, restaurants and places for people to live.

"There's a lot of history there, but we can bring the needs for today's community into that area and really make it a very eclectic, useful and fun place to be," Rafter said.

Tuesday's round-table discussion starts at 11 a.m. in Madison.

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