Minnesota is the 12th largest state in the US in the Upper Midwestern region of the country. It ranks 22nd in population among all states, with 5.75 million residents.
While Minnesota's incarceration rate is around half of the national average, it has an incarceration rate of 342 per 100,000 people, and the prisons are overcrowded; it has led to the need for private prisons to accommodate the prisoners. This article shares a list of private prisons in the state of Minnesota and their challenges.
Prisons in Minnesota
Minnesota's first privately owned prison is the Prairie correctional facility, which has operated since 1992. However, as of 2010, Minnesota doesn't contract with private prisons within the state.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections (MNDOC) is the state's law enforcement bureau which operates prisons held in St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota state.
The MNDOC administers the whole prison system of Minnesota and directly supervises all 11 state prisons. The state government funds the department and is also in charge of processing prisoners and maintaining their records.
Minnesota prisons are now under the state's authority which imprisons law violators and offenders. State prisons are raised in Minnesota, and criminals are also within that state.
Most crimes in the state are legally summoned under state law. Federal prisons in the government's jurisdiction imprison people for white-collar crimes, including money laundering, corruption, human trafficking, etc. The Bureau of Prisons, a federal office, operates a locator service searching for prisoner details.
At the state level, parties seeking Minnesota prisoner's record or their location can visit the county jail or Sheriff's Department in the location where the crime and incarceration happened.
A List of Private Prisons in Minnesota
According to January 2021, there are 11 private prisons in Minnesota; they are:
- Prairie Correctional Facility: The 1600-bed, medium-security prison in the state of Minnesota operated since 1992.
- Minnesota correctional facility - Willow River: The minimum security prison having state-run facilities.
- Minnesota correctional facility - Faribault: The minimum and Maximum security prison
- Minnesota Correctional Facility - Lino Lakes: The minimum and medium-security prison
- Minnesota Correctional Facility - Oak Park Heights: The maximum security prison
- Minnesota Correctional Facility - Red Wing: The minimum security prison
- Minnesota Correctional Facility - Rush City: The close security prison)
- Minnesota Correctional Facility - Shakopee: A female prison
- Minnesota Correctional Facility - St. Cloud: The close security prison
- Minnesota Correctional Facility - Stillwater: The minimum security prison
- Minnesota Correctional Facility - Togo: The minimum security prison
Operational Private Prisons in Minnesota
Minnesota State has a combination of jails, private prisons, juvenile detention centers, and other state (governmental) facilities in its prison system, organized to imprison individuals convicted of state crimes.
As of September 2021 information, the state of Minnesota owns three private prisons which are operational within the state.
- Prairie Correctional Facility - located in Appleton, Minnesota
- Red Rock Correctional Center - located in Eloy, Arizona. The Minnesota Department of Corrections has a contract with this correctional center in Arizona to accommodate prisoners from Minnesota.
- Minnesota correctional facilities - The correctional facility is state-run but owns a contract also with a private company named "The GEO group" to house some prisoners.
Challenges and Issues
While we mentioned the list of private prisons in the state of Minnesota and that most of them are closed, it is important to understand some issues in prisons.
In Minnesota, bed shortages caused a growth in the population of private prisons since the following year, 2000, resulting in entitled male prisoners being shifted to a private prison facility to serve their period.
Imprisonment in private prisons responded to statistically serious growth in the risk of rearrests and re-offense. There was no statistically critical effect on re-imprisonment for a new crime or voiding for a technical offense.
State administrators notice indications that safety is a huge problem in the prisons of Minnesota. They state that uncertain and incomplete data make it difficult to figure out the problem's scope. Multiple sources reveal that violence against other prisoners decreased over the last four years.
However, according to a current report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor, prisoner invasion on prison staff increased fiercely during 2018 before declining again in 2019.
The audit officials released information following the passing away of two staff members at Minnesota prisons. Corrections officer Joseph Gomm, 45 years old, was beaten to death by a prisoner in the state prison of Stillwater, Minnesota, on July 18, 2018.
Another corrections officer, 37 years old Joseph Parise, was killed by a prisoner a few months later, on September 24, 2018.
Female staff faces continual sexual offenses by a few male prisoners in several state prisons of Minnesota, who verbally threaten them with sexual abuse. Female staff claimed that some supervisors and colleagues expect them to endure this brutal behavior by prisoners, and those prisoners often refuse disciplinary orders.
The report also discusses how one in three Department of Corrections staff members working in private prisons declare they are vulnerable to tolerate unethical behavior at work, including bullying and sexual abuse, and prison administrators don't take serious action against it.
Private Vs. Federal Prisons Minnesota
Minnesota’s private prisons differ from federal prisons regarding management, funding, and prison facilities. Minnesota’s privately owned prisons imprison state law violators, while federal prisons imprison violators of federal law.
The effect of the government’s level also discriminates against the classification of private and federal prisons. Federal prisons are funded higher than private prisons because of the federal government’s large-scale financial resources. More funding involves better facilities, healthcare, and better living conditions.
Even as the federal government is nation-spanning, it can set up federal prisons in any part of the nation-state, and prisoners can be kept in all facilities. The state establishes private prisons, and prisoners are placed within the state facility only.
The Bottom Line
Minnesota has jointly state-run and privately owned prisons in its prison system. The Minnesota Department of Corrections has private contracts with the Red Rock Correctional Center in Arizona and "The GEO Group" to accommodate prisoners from Minnesota.
While the article mentions the list of private prisons in the state of Minnesota, they have some challenges of bed shortages, safety problems, including prisoner violence and sexual offenses, and aid of financial resources. Thus, they require improved data collection and corrected actions to establish the safety of both prisoners and corrections staff members.
Where are most private prisons?
According to 2021 statistics, Florida has the highest number of prisoners in the United States, with 11,712 offenders. Texas has the second-highest number of prisoners, followed by Tennessee, Arizona, and Georgia.
Are private prisons more safe?
Private prisons are a need in the US due to the high number of prisoners and overcrowding in federal and state prisons. However, private prisons are not that safe and have a higher number of violence and assault incidents.
What prisons in Minnesota are maximum security?
Oak Park Heights prison is the highest security prison in the Minnesota Department of Corrections system. Most prisoners in this prison are close and maximum custody levels. The prison is designed for criminals that need full-time vigilance and may pose a death threat to other inmates.