Calls to replace Green Bay Correctional grow amid 2023 budget proposal

Vacancies at several prisons in the area are a concern to many
Action 2 News speaks with a correctional officer who is tired of the inaction
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 6:38 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2023 at 9:11 AM CST
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ALLOUEZ, Wis. (WBAY) - Tom Langenhorst, a formerly retired correctional officer, was troubled by an email he saw from an officer ordered to be on a shift.

In the email, the officer said he had to take his child to a doctor’s appointment, so he offered up his own money for someone to take his shift. After no one took his first bid, he upped the amount.

“I don’t know of any agency in the State of Wisconsin that allows that,” said Langenhorst.

The Green Bay Correctional Institution’s staff vacancies have grown by nearly 9% since May 2022.

Taycheedah Correctional Institute vacancies have increased nearly 2% according to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

“As I see, these people are tired. They’re working five double shifts -- five 16-hour shifts in seven days. That’s extremely hard for anybody,” said Langenhorst.

Gov. Evers has proposed compensation increases but rejected plans to replace the prison.

Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay) has pushed for a new facility for years. “We need to have the legislature and the governor be willing to look beyond the next two years or the next election,” says Steffen.

He says he believes the root of the staffing and safety issues is the facility itself.

“It is the most dangerous facility in Wisconsin. Twenty percent of all inmate-on-staff assaults are occurring in that single facility,” Steffen said about GBCI, citing DOC 2017 data. “When you are packing ten pounds of humanity into a five-pound bag, which is essentially what we’re doing at GBCI, there are going to be problems.”