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Study: Leasing private Appleton prison would be costly

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It would cost taxpayers nearly twice as much to lease a private prison in western Minnesota than to house inmates in county jails, a new report concludes.

City officials in Appleton, Minn., want the state to take over the 1,600 bed prison that's been closed since 2010. The facility is owned by Tennessee-based CoreCivic, which used to be known as Corrections Corporation of America. 

Minnesota's 10 male correctional facilities are full, so the state leases extra space in county jails at about $55 a day per inmate.

The report by Klein McCarthy Architects says leasing the Appleton facility would cost almost $100 dollars a day per inmate. 

It would cost the state nearly $200 million to buy and fix the prison, spreading the repair bill over 15 years, according to the report. 

Staffing would also cost more at Appleton, about $82 a day per inmate, compared to $66 at the comparably sized Stillwater prison.