Governor Burgum proposes closing down New England women’s prison

We have continuing coverage on an item in Governor Burgum’s budget that’s making waves.

It’s a big proposal that could mean good news for one town and uncertainty for another.

During his budget address, the Governor said he’d like to relocate the women’s prison from the town of New England to the Missouri River Correctional Center south of Bismarck. 

In order to do that the state would need to use 35 million dollars from the Legacy Fund.
They would then replace the quote “aging State Hospital in Jamestown”. 

The State Hospital would become a minimum-custody correctional facility for men. 
In his address, Governor Burgum says consolidating these facilities would create more efficient operations that would then create long-term savings of at least 7 million dollars every two years. 

Right now it’s just a proposal.
State lawmakers would need to sign off on the idea. 

We spoke to a state representative from New England — he questions a couple things about the Governor’s proposal.

He says losing the Dakota Women’s Correctional rehabilitation center would cost the city 56 full time jobs and 70 total. 

And would be devastating to the families employed there.
He’s also concerned about the legacy fund being used because it’s purpose is for emergencies. 
And reshuffling the department of corrections doesn’t qualify as an emergency in his opinion. 

Representative Schatz also stated that quote
“It’s a bit ironic that The Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehabilitation Center is on main street in New England and the Governor has a main street initiative and really he’s just taking from our town and giving it to another so I don’t think that will bode too well.” 

Schatz also mentioned that he plans to work keep the facility where it’s at and maintain the status quo. 

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