State Representative David Steffen, R-Howard, has been appointed to serve as a member of the Corrections Facilities Planning Committee, a joint study committee created in the 2017-19 biennial budget, and charged with developing a long-range, sustainable plan for Wisconsin’s correctional facilities, including the Green Bay Correctional Institution.
The committee is composed of three members appointed by the governor, three by the Assembly speaker, and three by the Senate majority leader and will be assisted by the Department of Administration.
“Rep. Steffen has been instrumental in bringing this issue to the forefront in the Capitol,” said Speaker Robin Vos. “He has a tremendous amount of knowledge and passion for this issue and was an obvious choice for this committee.”
“Developing real, cost-effective solutions to issues facing our state’s prisons, especially GBCI, has been a top priority for me this session,” said Steffen, who is the lead author of a proposal he says would save the state over $150 million through the construction of a replacement facility for GBCI elsewhere in Northeastern Wisconsin, possibly Kewaunee County.
“As a member of this committee, my focus will be on providing forward-thinking, actionable solutions for our facilities — to that end, I certainly view my Green Bay prison proposal as an appropriate model to be considered within the scope of this committee,” he said.
As part of its study, the committee expects to focus on developing solutions to many of the statewide issues impacting Wisconsin’s prison system, such as capacity shortfalls, physical condition of aging facilities, workforce needs, health care and programmatic needs.
“This committee has an important opportunity to redirect the course for our state’s prisons. I have an optimistic outlook for this committee because oftentimes, necessity truly is the mother of invention, and considering that all of our maximum facilities are at or above operating capacity, we absolutely need a solution,” Steffen said.
Steffen joins Rep. Michael Schraa, R-Oshkosh, and Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, as the Assembly appointees to this committee. Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald have not announced their choices.