The Minnesota Department of Corrections is a state-run agency that oversees the operation of several prisons. It operates 12 facilities of varying security classes for men, women and juveniles and they have several programs to help rehabilitate inmates. Their primary goals as a corrections institution is to discipline criminals and help them understand what they are accountable for, keep the public safe, provide treatment for inmates that have drug addictions and prepare criminals for going back out into the real world. It is not an easy job, but the Minnesota Department of Corrections has a dedicated staff and the organization to keep the streets clean.
A Brief History
The Minnesota Department of Corrections has a rich history and begins before Minnesota was even a state. The first territorial prison began construction in 1853 in a town called Stillwater. Five years later, Minnesota officially became a state and this became the first of many state prisons. In 1867, a second institution was opened, which was a house for juveniles. This was also one of the first correctional institutions that did not use bars or security walls for protection.
Over the years more prisons were built and laws came into effect that affected both the children’s reform school and the prisons. Some famous inmates were incarcerated in the Stillwater prison, including the younger brothers of Jesse James. However, the department was not actually founded until 1959. This was a way to streamline the various boards that controlled the juveniles, adult institutions and parole into one efficient machine.
The Re-integration Program
The Minnesota Department of Corrections has several ambitious programs for helping re-integrate felons back into society. This can be difficult because after being in such a strict environment for so long, it can be difficult to deal with so much freedom. This is an all-to-common problem and is the main reason why many become repeat offenders.
One of their most ambitious programs is the Challenge Incarceration Program, or CIP. It is a long-term, three stage process. The first phase lasts for a minimum of six months and is analogous with a military school mixed with psychological training. There is a lot of drilling, teaching of basic education and physical training. Depending on how well you respond, you will also be put on a work crew. During phase two you are released into a community-like environment that simulates the outside world. This phase is still under high surveillance, but has less structure. Phase three is similar to phase two, though there is even less surveillance involved. Once phase three is complete, the prisoner is released from prison, but is supervised for the remainder of their sentence. It is important to note that anyone who fails to complete stage two or three are returned to prison with an increased sentence.
This is only one of many ways that the Minnesota Department of Corrections tries to help prisoners get used to life on the outside and keep them from turning back to their old ways. They do their best to make offenders understand that they have a free will and can choose to do right or wrong; nothing forces them. As the future unfolds, the Minnesota Department of Corrections will continue to believe this and offer the best protection they can.Read More
The Minnesota Department of Corrections is one of many government-created agencies that watches over the prisons and juvenile detention facilities located within their state. Their primary purpose is to make sure that each correctional institution runs smoothly and to oversee the release of inmates in a timely manner so that the facilities do not become overcrowded. One of the other major jobs of the DOC is to create and implement programs to help re-integrate former criminals and give them strategies that will prevent them from becoming repeat offenders.
The Minnesota Circle of Support and Accountability
Minnesota has probably had the most trouble with dealing with sex offenders, especially after a released sex offender killed a college student in 2003. This has led to extensive and sometimes hostile changes to the legislation dealing with them. However, a new program called the Minnesota Circle of Support and Accountability (MnCoSA) has opened new doors in helping rehabilitate sex offenders that have come to the end of their sentence.
MnCoSA was originally developed in Canada and is a nationally-recognized strategy. With this program, once a sex offender is released from jail he becomes the core member of circle of supporters. These supporters and mentors are all volunteers who have met strict guidelines. Each circle is made up of 4~7 people. The circle is meant to help out the core member in finding a job, housing and trying to get into a good daily routine. The program usually lasts for one year with involvement slowly decreasing over time. Studies so far have found that sex offenders that participate in this program are 84% less likely to repeat their offense.
The Challenge Incarceration Program
One of the biggest problems of any prison system is overcrowding. Over the years the Minnesota Department of Correction has instituted many programs to help weed out the prisoners who are not a danger to society and worthy of being released. The culmination of these projects is the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) that began in 1992. It is a voluntary program for any inmate that meets the proper requirements.
However, it is by no means a cake walk. The program can be grueling and take a very long time to complete, a minimum 18 months. CIP operates in three phases. The first involves a highly structured and surveyed camp. Here a prisoner will have to deal with extreme physical challenges, basic education and rehabilitation for those that are drug addicts. As you progress through the phase you will be put on work crews that help in basic labor around the area. Once a prisoner is deemed ready, they enter phase two which puts them in a community area that is not as structured and allows them to have real jobs, but it is still has very high surveillance. Finally, they enter phase three, which involves less surveillance. Once a prisoner passes all three phases, they are released from prison, but continue to be under surveillance until the end of their sentence.
Besides the grueling work load and long period of time that the program takes to complete, there is one more danger for prisoners. If they pass into the second and third phases and fail at either stage, they will be returned to prison with an extended sentence.
These are just a few of the programs that the Minnesota Department of Corrections is using to try and turn criminals into responsible citizens who can provide a real contribution to society, while keeping the truly bad offenders behind bars.Read More
The Minnesota Corrections Department believes in both the power of correctional assignments as well as the need for reintegration after correctional assignments. Although the Minnesota Correction Department does not advocate third party sites, here are a few examples of partnerships with major employers that do accept individuals leaving correctional facilities:
While there are never any workforce guarantees, we do strive to offer information regarding employment opportunities to transfers out of our system as well as individuals on parole. We find that immediate workforce experience provides a better path for future rehabilitation success.Read More