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Hours decreased at Prairie Correctional, but layoffs avoided

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region Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Enterprise
(218) 732-8757 customer support
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton is avoiding layoffs by cutting hours for all of its employees.

The action comes in anticipation of declining inmate numbers. Workers at the private prison will work 72 hours in every two-week pay period, instead of the customary 80 hours, according to Warden Tim Wengler.

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Salaried staff will see a similar reduction by taking one-week furloughs.

The plan was outlined to the facility's 249 employees Wednesday. It's expected to remain in place for three or four months, as the prison expects to see many of its Minnesota inmates transferred back to state-owned facilities. Wengler said the plan to reduce hours avoids layoffs for 40 some employees.

The warden and other administrators worked with the prison's owners, Corrections Corporation of America, Nashville, Tenn., to develop the plan in hopes of avoiding layoffs.

The private prison is the largest employer in the Appleton area. Wengler said the decision to reduce hours rather than cut staff was taken to lessen the hardships on the many individuals and families affected. He said employees responded well to the approach. The company is continuing to market the facility to hold inmates from other states.

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