The state House has passed the budget bill for the Department of Corrections.
In the bill, approximately 30 women inmates from the Dakota Women’s Correctional and Rehabilitation Center in New England will be moved to the Youth Correctional Center in Mandan. The New England Facility is operated through a contract with the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center.
Rep. Randy Schobinger (R-Minot) told the House the Department wants to keep the New England facility open and operating, with perhaps a new mission.
"The plan is most definitely to move the ladies from that facility in total," Schobinger said. "But over the next two years, they want to find a mission for that facility. They're just not sure what it is yet."
Rep. Mike Schatz (R-New England) said he disagreed with that conclusion.
"You have an absolutely wonderful facility there (New England) that's doing the job it's supposed to," Schatz said.
But Rep. Bernie Satrom (R-Jamestown) said the problem is New England is quite a distance from the families of most of the inmates.
"The primary motivation for them to be rehabilitated would be the families," Satrom said. "We're really shooting ourselves in the foot by having it there."
The bill passed 75 to 17. It now goes back to the Senate for further consideration.
The bill is SB 2015.