Village of Allouez pledges to continue push to close the Green Bay prison

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 9:13 PM CDT
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ALLOUEZ, Wis. (WBAY) - Village of Allouez President Jim Rafter released the following statement Thursday, pledging to continue efforts to close Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI) after the measure was left out of Gov. Evers’ budget and the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee process:

“Every day GBCI remains open, it is a risk that remains to inmates, guards, and our community. It must be closed. A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers and leaders from the Green Bay area support the facility’s closure. At a time when the Capitol is saddled with partisanship and gridlock, this is a rare policy change that nearly everyone agrees should be made.

“I’m disappointed that neither Gov. Tony Evers nor the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance have proactively worked to close GBCI. The Village of Allouez will continue to work with our leaders to underscore the importance of closing the facility and turning it into an economic engine for Brown County. The window for action during this budget is quickly closing and I am hopeful that our leaders will listen.”

As recently as February, a bipartisan coalition including the Brown County sheriff, Allouez village president and both state lawmakers who represent the village, appealed to the Secretary of the State Department of Corrections to help efforts to close the prison.

Supporters of moving the prison cite overcrowding and safety inside the prison and the cost of maintaining a 120-year-old facility.

A study by St. Norbert College in nearby De Pere found redeveloping the property could contribute more than $150 million to the economy annually depending on what eventually occupies the land. Proposals have included residential space, retail, entertainment, or a hotel.