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Administrative Control Unit

Most Minnesota Department of Corrections facilities have a restricted housing unit which is separated from the general population. MCF-Oak Park Heights has a restricted housing unit that is operated at the highest level of security – the Administrative Control Unit (ACU) .

The ACU often houses individuals for disciplinary reasons but may also house some individuals who are on Administrative Segregation. This type of restricted housing is not disciplinary in nature. Sometimes it is used during pending investigations or when continued presence in the general population could pose a particular safety concern.


Corrections staff must make visual observations of incarcerated individuals on a pre-determined irregular schedule, at least every 30 minutes. Staff make more frequent observations of incarcerated people who are violent, those with serious mental health concerns, or those who are demonstrating unusual behavior. The warden or a senior level designee must visit the unit at least weekly to observe living and working conditions.

Mental Health

A mental health professional personally interviews and prepares a written report on all incarcerated people remaining in restricted housing for more than 30 days, and every three months thereafter. Staff must immediately notify mental health services if any person requests mental health services or a person exhibits signs of depression, disorientation, or unusual behavior. Witnessing staff must immediately notify the watch commander.

Allowable items

The following items are allowed in restricted housing: clothing, footwear, towels, bedding, writing paper and pen, inmate communication forms, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, soap, shampoo, restricted housing information packet, and a comb.

These additional items are also allowed unless prohibited for safety or security reasons: personal mail, legal materials, wedding rings, approved religious items, shower shoes, address book, eyeglasses, dentures, prosthesis, approved canteen items, ear plugs, and envelopes.

Certain magazines, newspapers, publications, books, and education materials may also be approved as well as radios (in some cases).

inmate in ACU cell  Doors for ACU cell showing both doors

ACU cell inside  ACU cell inside 2


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