A state representative from the Green Bay area is pressing the state departments of Corrections and Administration to account for what became of a mandated study of the aging Green Bay Correctional Institution.

There had been some movement toward replacing the prison with a new facility, possibly in Kewaunee County.

Rep. David Steffen, R-Howard, released the following statement:

It has been over three years since Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections (DOC) was required by law to produce a comprehensive structural and operational review of the failing, 122-year old prison in Allouez, as well as other prisons in Wisconsin.

This report was fully funded through a $600,000 budget allocation in July 2017. Sadly and illegally, DOC has refused to release the results. Furthermore, DOC and DOA have failed to respond to formal Open Records Requests relating to this matter sent on August 10, 2020.

Pursuant state law and the attached Demand Letter, DOC and DOA shall be subject to formal court action and sanctions if they fail to comply with this law and this request within 30 days. The bottom line: The taxpayers funded this report three years ago, and they have the legal right to a transparent, legal and immediate release of this final report.

Here is the text of Steffen’s letter:

October 26, 2020

To whom it may concern:

This letter is to notify all involved parties that after numerous inquiries, follow ups, and a currently unfulfilled Open Records Request (ORR) that was submitted on August 10, 2020, in accordance with Wisconsin public records law (Wis. Stats. §§ 19.31-39), the Office of Representative David Steffen is demanding that the administration fulfill the outstanding ORR for information regarding the Prison Facilities Report commissioned in 2017 which includes all e-mails, text messages and communication out of Department of Correction (DOC) and Department of Administration (DOA) relating to allocation of funds and a breakdown of money already used as specified in the report.

See below for a timeline on interactions between the Office of Representative David Steffen and various state officials in relation to the information requests and subsequent ORR on Prison Facilities Report commissioned in 2017.

12/11/19 – Sent email to DOA liaison, Brian Vigue, requesting the final prison study report and status.
12/19/19 – Sent follow up email regarding status.
01/06 /20 – Followed up with Brian to get a copy of the completed first phase.
01/15/20 – Sent another follow up email.
01/15/20 – Brian responded stating he would find me some answers.
01/21/20 – Sent follow up email regarding status of answers.
02/07/20 – DOA liaison stated the project is scheduled to be completed in late Spring and the 600K in funding had been expended.
02/10/20 – Sent a follow up email asking for a breakdown of the 600K and how it was spent.
02/24/20 – Sent a follow up email on the breakdown of the 600k and how it was spent.
04/27/20 – Contacted the Office of Speaker Vos for a response regarding getting information on the project from DOA.
08/10/20 – ORR sent to DOA and DOC regarding prison facilities report.
08/13/20 – Received acknowledgement of the ORR and now awaiting response.

It has now been over 60 days since you received my ORR and 10 months since I formally requested this study. Please respond with the status of this ORR or the fulfillment of this ORR. If a satisfactory response is not received or the ORR is not fulfilled within 30 days after the date of this letter, then my office will be forced to consider legal action against the administration for withholding access to the ORR submitted on August 10, 2020.

I request this information in electronic format when possible. If there are fees associated with obtaining these records, please notify me by email at rep.steffen@legis.wi.gov or by calling 608-266-5840. Please let me if you have any questions or need additional information.

Thank you for your prompt attention to my request.

David Steffen
Representative
4th Assembly District