A state lawmaker from Brown County has proposed a bill that would close Green Bay Correctional Institution and build a new, private prison the state could lease.
Rep. David Steffen introduced the bill to a state Senate committee Thursday, saying it would greatly benefit Allouez, where the prison is located, and also save the state more than $150 million.
The proposal is to close Green Bay Correctional and have a new one built by a private contractor. The state would then be able to lease the building from that contractor.
Recent estimates show the state would have to put about $220 million into the 119-year-old prison over the next ten years just for upgrades.
Rep. Steffen said because the prison is overpopulated and there are ongoing safety concerns, now is the best time to act.
"When it comes to the maximum security population, we are maxed out in the state of Wisconsin and we need to find solutions, and this is one of them," Rep. Steffen said. "It saves a tremendous amount of money for the taxpayers and provides a better service for those inmates all within a much safer environment for the workers."
The bill just got a public hearing Thursday, but Rep. Steffen said he'd like to see it go up for a vote within 60 days.