A key lawmaker says to reduce the Minnesota’s growing prison population the state should proceed with reducing sentences for some non-violent drug offenses, expand existing prisons only slightly, and instead focus on treatment and rehabilitation. But Senator Ron Latz from Saint Louis Park acknowledges because there’s an election “it might be impossible this year.” “Part of what we’re doing,” he says, “is we have to lay a groundwork… for changes that sometimes take a few years for people to get comfortable with and to recognize the value of.” Some top Republicans oppose any reductions in prison sentences. There’s also a push for the state to lease or buy a privately-owned prison in Appleton that’s currently closed. Latz says it makes no economic sense and the state should instead take steps to reduce its prison population. Expect a fight over the Appleton prison in the 2016 legislative session which begins Tuesday.