Nothing against the good citizens of New England, North Dakota.  But what were we thinking back in 2003 when the doors opened and the bars started slamming shut at the Dakota Women's Correctional Rehab Center in New England?   I ask because New England is pretty darn remote dontcha' think?   It's two hours Southwest of Bismarck! It's four and a half hours from Fargo!  It's five and a half hours from Grand Forks!

This from NextCity.org

According to Leann Bertsch, director of North Dakota’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 90 percent of North Dakota’s female prison population is from the Bismarck area or further east, and 79 percent have children under the age of 18

I know no place is ever going to be the perfect central location for a correctional facility.  Plus we're maybe all aware of the concept of NIMBY which stands for Not In My Backyard. People don't want convicted criminals dropped into their communities- they don't.

New England North Dakota doesn't want the state to take them away- I don't blame them.  New England is a city of 600 that's simply bursting with civic pride. But when you're trying to keep your city afloat in remote North Dakota, you need something that injects cash from outside and provides jobs to attract and keep young families. Losing the Dakota Women's Correctional Center is going to be a massive blow to the community.  Here's hoping the facility can be repurposed in some way to attract economic interests.  Let me remind you- it's only been open for 18 years!

There's strong reasons to pull prisoners out of this facility and to utilize the underused  YCC facility in Mandan.

The movement of women inmates to the Youth Correctional Center in Mandan will begin this month. 

Women are housed at the facility in the Dakota Women’s Correctional and Rehabilitation Center in New England, as well as the state Hospital in Jamestown.

Corrections Department Director Dave Krabbenhoft said the first 10 to 15 women will move to the part of the Youth Correctional Center that will be re-dubbed “Heart River Correctional Center.” He said the plans call for between 45 and 50 women to be housed there in this two year period.

If you're interested in reading more about the thought process behind this switch I'd suggest reading all of Cinnamon Janzer's story.

I'm just amazed that the powers-that-be would have ever decided to send moms that far away from any chance at regular visitation.  Do the crime, do the time I guess.

Sorry New England hope you find a successful road to repurposing.


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