Gov. Mark Dayton is making another push for a fence around the Shakopee women’s prison.
The $986 million bonding proposal that Dayton announced Wednesday contains nearly $5.4 million for a security perimeter fence at the prison. A summary of projects in the bonding proposal says the fence is needed because the population and risk factors have increased at the prison since it was opened in 1986 without a security fence.
This is not the first time Dayton has asked the Legislature to sign off on a fence. Just last year, Dayton included $5.2 million for a fence in his bonding package. However, bonding packages are typically only approved in even-numbered years. The Legislature wound up passing a much-scaled-down bonding proposal that did not include the fence.
The community has long pushed for a fence around the prison. After a prison escape in December, Mayor Brad Tabke said the escape was preventable and that the prison needs a fence around the facility.
“Thankfully, no one was hurt or injured in this escape but it was entirely preventable,” Tabke wrote. “This prison is regrettably located in a residential area and has no fence on its perimeter. For years, the Department of Corrections has been denied a request by the Minnesota Legislature for funding to build a fence best fitting the character of a residential neighborhood.”
He called for the Legislature to approve funding for a fence in a 2014 bonding bill or through special legislation.
“Today’s escape dramatically underscores the need to build a fence around MCF-Shakopee,” he wrote. “It was a completely unnecessary risk that must be corrected in the 2014 legislative session through the bonding bill or special legislation.”
The prison, which opened in 1986, houses about 650 inmates of all custody levels.