About Minnesota Department of Corrections
Minnesota Department of Corrections is in charge of 10 correctional facilities, which houses approximately 7200 inmates. In addition to the inmates, MN DOC supervises approximately 104,000 offenders under community supervision.
The department follows the Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 241, which directs MM DOC to be responsible for the “care, custody, and rehabilitation” of incarcerated individuals under its custody. Whether an offender is under community supervision or correctional facility, MN DOC takes the offenders through a series of rehabilitation programs.
In Minnesota, incarcerated individuals spend two-thirds of their sentence in a state correctional facility, but in the final third of the sentence, the prison authorities transfer the inmate to community supervision. However, inmates who violate the regulations while serving the community under supervision are taken back to prison. The Community Corrections Act allows low-level offenders to serve their time in county jails or public service programs.
Since 95% of inmates are released back to society, Minnesota DOC takes inmates through a program regimen designed to reduce the rate of former inmates falling back to crime. The department provides programs such as vocational training, substance abuse treatments, cognitive thinking, and educational programs.
Minnesota Correctional Facilities
Minnesota uses a four-level custody classification system to classify its correctional facilities. In this regard, these are the levels:
There is a special correctional facility for females. MCF- Shakopee incarcerates all females regardless of their security level.
All correctional facilities provide inmates with educational programs, treatment, and equal opportunity to participate in employment opportunities in the prisons.
MN DOC Offender Locator
The Locator provides the public with information about offenders under the custody of the state department of corrections. Moreover, it lists all individuals under MNDOC’s jurisdiction, i.e., those in correctional facilities or released under supervision.
You can search for offender information using their name (first, last, or both) or using the MNDOC Offender ID. The search results display the offender's information, including if they are incarcerated, under supervision, work release, or is wanted fugitive. Through this state prisoner lookup, you can acquire any bit of information about an inmate. However, the department is not liable for any incorrect or inaccurate information on the site.
Minnesota Public Registrant Search
The Minnesota Community Notification Act requires that the DOC provides the public with information on inmates who have been released from correctional facilities. Inmates listed on the public registrant search are mostly those convicted of sexual offenses, kidnapping, or false imprisonment. Further, the released individuals are classified into risk levels 1,2, and 3.
The MN DOC displays information of:
- All persons required to register under Minnesota Statutes 243.166 or 243.167
- Individuals are subject to public notification under Minnesota Statutes 244.052 or 253d.32
The law enforcement agency records the information and determines which information to make public. The agency then relays the details to the DOC who posts the information on the Public Registrant Search website within 48 hours after receiving the information. Some of the information the department displays include the individual’s residential address, description, photograph, criminal history, etc.
You can search for registrants by city, county, name, or zip code.
MN DOC Community Supervision and Reentry
Minnesota uses a determinate sentencing system where prisoners are not given parole board or time off for good behaviors. Incarcerated individuals must serve a mandatory two-thirds of their life sentence and the remaining time on supervised release. All offenders on supervised release must follow the regulations such as regular drug tests, approved residence, internet access restrictions, and electronic monitoring in some cases.
The DOC has the authority to send an individual back to prison if they violate the set regulations. The department also supervises probationers in various counties. If a probationer violates the probation rules, DOC sends the case to the sentencing judge, who may send the offender to prison.
Besides supervising released inmates and probationers, the DOC also requires that sex offender register their details. The department categorizes the sex offenders in three levels; levels 1, 2, and 3. MN DOC considers level 3 sex offenders as individuals with a high risk of re-offending. In this regard, the local law enforcement agencies notify the community if MN DOC releases a level 3 offender from a correctional facility.
The department of corrections also provides probationers, inmates, and released offenders with various programs to ensure successful reentry into the community.
Institution Community Work Crews (ICWC)
ICWC provides inmates in minimum-security correctional facilities with an opportunity to work in community projects. Department crew leaders supervise the inmates while working outside the prison for the local government or state agencies. The inmates participate in projects such as roadside clean-up, snow removal, and cleaning up the streets after floods or storms. While giving back to the community, the inmates acquire various job skills.
The ICWC also has an ICWC Affordable Homes Program (AHP) which addresses the housing shortage challenge that low to moderate-income families face. The program partners with nonprofit community agencies to provide inmates with an opportunity to build affordable houses. AHP, therefore, acts as a vocational training program while addressing the housing issue.
Sentencing to Service
STS is an alternative method of reforming offenders. The courts send selected nonviolent offenders to work on community projects rather than sending them to prisons. The STS crew members work in public areas such as parks and roads.
The Minnesota DOC, local governments, and courts run the STS program. Government agencies and nonprofit organizations may send work proposals to DOC, which should improve the community as well as give a work opportunity to the lawbreakers.
The Work Release Program prepares incarcerated individuals to transition back to the community and live a crime-free life. The department places inmates in the work release program during the last 12 months before the supervised release date. Work Release program partners with private and public entities to provide inmates with work release services.
Minnesota Career Education Center
The Minnesota DOC has a Minnesota Career Education Center (MCEC) unit, which prepares the offenders for college education and career after imprisonment. On average, MN DOC records 2400 enrollments to the inmate education programs. In Minnesota, 73% of offenders under the DOC have a GED, verified high school diploma, or adult high school diploma.
Students in the MCEC's adult basic education (ABE) program receive approximately 800,000 hours of instruction per year. Since the legislature passed the MN State Adult Diploma Program (ADP) in 2015, over 400 inmates have graduated. Before graduating, inmate students must prove their competency in traditional subjects such as Math, Science, and language arts. Additionally, they must demonstrate competency in career awareness, workplace skills, and digital literacy. MN DOC has an 89% GED test passing rate, putting it at the top five ranks among all state DOCs.
MCEC also has Career Technical Education (CTE) programs which the Century College certifies. After completing and passing the industry exams, MCEC awards students with certification in CTE programs like:
- Machine Tool Technology program
- Carpentry, heavy equipment operator, painting/decorating, and cabinet making programs
Facility Reentry Programming
MN DOC offers a wide range of transitional programs to incarcerated individuals while in correctional facilities and after-release establishments. The DOC Reentry Services Unit partners with facility services, state/county agencies, community organizations, or citizens to provide the reentry services. All correctional facilities under MN DOC have transitions coordinators who deliver the reentry programs and supervise the resource centers. Additionally, all the facilities have a transition center that provides various resources like job search assistance, veteran’s resources, housing information, etc.
The department also provides a comprehensive pre-release program in all its facilities. The curriculum contains classes on employment, personal financial management, health, living under supervision, and other pre-release topics. In addition to this program, most facilities host an annual transition resource fair. The exhibitors in the fair include community organizations, trade unions, faith-based groups, and government agencies. These exhibitors present resources in areas such as mental health, personal finance, employment, and other resources that meet the offender’s needs.
MN DOC offers specialized release planning services for individuals with treatment needs such as sexual offense, medical, substance use disorders, mental health, or brain injury. These individuals can benefit from community-based services and programs like education, health insurance application, mental/dental care health services, veteran's services, etc.
The department cares for juvenile offenders by providing juvenile reentry programs. Juvenile males are incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility- Red Wing while the females are incarcerated at a contract facility. MCF- Red Wing offers education, treatment, and transition services to serious and chronic juveniles.
MN DOC Inmate Visitation
Loved ones can choose to visit the inmates through video visitation or personal visitation. All DOC facilities allow people to meet with inmates via video visitation virtually. You must be on an inmate's approved visitors list to video visit an inmate. Secondly, you must have a JPay account to schedule the video visit. It costs $3.50 for a 15-minute video visit.
Before planning for an in-person visit, visit the MN DOC visiting information page to check if the facility you wish to visit is open for visitation or not. To schedule a visit, one can call the facility 24 hours before the visit. Alternatively, you can use the online scheduling option. In-person visits are limited to 60 minutes with no extension offer. Visitors must follow all the visitation guidelines, including the Covid-19 protocols and dressing codes.