BISMARCK, N.D. – The only women’s prison in North Dakota might be closing. Lawmakers heard a proposal to move adult inmates from the Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehab Center to the Youth Correctional Center in Mandan.
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation leaders say they want to expand community services for the facilities, and help people build a sense of community. The proposal included two main options. Both center on a common theme.
“We are driven by the desire to bring women closer to where most of the resources and services are available,” said Stephen A. Carter, CGL Companies executive VP.
Option one divides the Youth Correctional Center in half and moves inmates from the Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehab Center in New England to the north side of the Mandan facility. It would keep 24 beds open in a separate section for youth on the south side. This plan also includes an upgrade to the Missouri River Correctional Center.
Option two involves moving the underage inmates to a new facility in Grand Forks. That would allow DOCR workers to move women to the YCC campus temporarily while they build a new women’s facility. They would then convert it for men’s reentry services.
Correction’s consultants said they would still need to discuss either option with Mandan.
“A big chunk of the women come from Burleigh-Morton County, and so visitation is a huge thing. Almost a third of the women come from the two counties where this would be located where this facility would be located,” said Leann Bertsch, DOCR director.
The options cost anywhere from $13 million to almost $30 million, but legislators wanted the group to look at a hybrid option that might not include new construction.
“That we actually look towards YCC as a long term women’s place, and we actually, more immediately plan to move the children,” said Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo.
When the final draft is set the plan will act as a roadmap for the department for up to 10 years.