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About the Minnesota Department of Corrections

At the Minnesota Department of Corrections, we work to transform lives for a safer Minnesota. With a focus on public safety, the well-being of approximately 4,200 employees, and the safety and security of the people committed to our custody, we prioritize strategies that hold people accountable for the offenses they commit while giving them the tools they need to succeed as they transition back to their communities. 

Our responsibilities and work are rooted in chapter 241 of Minnesota statutes. Under Minnesota law, we are responsible for the “care, custody, and rehabilitation” of anyone committed to the Commissioner by the courts. Our mission, structure, and work flow from this statutory directive. 

The individuals committed to the department can be incarcerated in our correctional facilities or be under our supervision in the community. No matter a person’s custody status, our mindset is the same: a person’s path to rejoining his or her community starts on the day they begin serving their sentence. 

We view every day that follows as an opportunity. We have an opportunity as a department to make Minnesota a safer place to live by identifying and implementing effective strategies to transform lives. Our officers, agents, case managers, and other employees have an opportunity to impact the lives of the people with whom they work. And the approximately 8,000 inmates in our 11 correctional facilities and the approximately 97,000 people under community supervision have an opportunity to transform their lives through accountability and the connections we help them build -- to their communities, needed mental and chemical health resources, education, job training and employment, and other supports and structures they will need to move back to their communities.

How  Sentences are Served in Minnesota

In the 1980s, Minnesota moved ahead with a bold set of reforms that created one of the best correctional systems in the nation.

Determinant Sentencing: Justice-involved individuals serve their entire sentence with no time off for good behavior. The first two-thirds of the sentence is served in a state correctional facility, and the final third is served in the community under supervision. Those who violate the terms of their supervised release may be returned to prison until their sentence has expired.

Community Corrections: In 1973, Minnesota legislators decided to reserve prison bed space for those who pose a threat to community safety. The Community Corrections Act allows for lower level individuals to serve their sentences in county jails or on public service programs in their communities. Department of Corrections resources are reserved for those with previous criminal histories and/or serious crimes against persons.

Innovative Programming: Since 95 percent of all incarcerated individuals will eventually be released back into the community, the Minnesota Department of Corrections does all it can to help people transition back into the community as productive citizens. substance use disorder treatment, education, vocational training and classes in cognitive thinking form the foundation of a programming regimen that is designed to keep people from committing new crimes after release.

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