Bill proposes moving correctional center to Mandan
By Brian L. Gray
An amended House bill that seeks to relocate the Missouri River Correctional Center to Mandan, next to the Youth Correction Center, was approved last week.
The bill, House Bill 1312, was introduced in January by Rep. Alon Wieland, R-West Fargo, proposing $12 million to move the 154-bed prison to the state penitentiary in Bismarck and make the 900-acre site near the Missouri River a nature park.
The plans were then amended to move the minimum security prison adjacent to the YCC in Mandan instead.
The bill now moves to the Senate Government and Veterans Affairs. If approved, it will the go to the Senate Appropriations Committee. A “do not pass” vote from the Senate Government and Veterans Affairs would send the bill to the Senate floor.
After objections were made regarding the original House bill, Wieland proposed the amendment, citing cost savings for the department by way of shared services between the two centers. He also added that combining minimum security inmates from the MRCC with prison inmates at the state penitentiary would cause safety and security issues.
Inmates at the MRCC are usually serving the last few months of their sentences and are not considered a threat to walk away from the center, which is not fenced.
MRCC inmates were temporarily moved to the YCC in the spring and summer of 2011, when the Missouri River flooded. All inmates were kept separate from the youth living at the YCC.
The bill appropriates $12 million from the state’s general fund to the land fund, and also sets aside $200,000 to develop a plan for the move.