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2022 OBFC Legislative Priorities


Legislative Recommendations for Covid-19 Response


Covid-19 Response: Failure to Protect

In March 2021, the Office of the Ombuds for Corrections published a report regarding Covid-19 Response within corrections. This report found that despite laudable and courageous efforts by leadership, staff, and incarcerated people in challenging and unparalleled circumstances, our corrections system, and we as a State, clearly failed to protect those who are incarcerated on our behalf from harm and consequences beyond what was contemplated in their sentencing. The full report can be found at
Recommendations: Comprehensive Review and Future Planning 

The legislature should provide funding for an independent and comprehensive review of all actions taken to prevent and mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in corrections; and document lessons learned and actions to be taken to improve future responses to highly transmissible infectious diseases. The Legislature should thoroughly review this information through dedicated hearings or other means such as a working group or task force and consider any needed statutory or funding changes. Information about local facility response and plans for future prevention/mitigation should be included.  

Legislative Recommendations for Strengthening Families 

Inadequate Support for Families and Loved Ones of Incarcerated Minnesotans
In June 2021, the Office of the Ombuds for Corrections published the Strengthening Families Report which found that existing resources and supports available to families are inadequate. The full report can be found at
Recommendations: DOC Family Support Position and Community Programs 
DOC Family Support Position -The legislature should fund a Department of Corrections (DOC) position focused on family support, navigation, and engagement. Without more coordination, it will be difficult to fully leverage existing resources and adequately prioritize integrating family support and connections into policies and programs. 
Community Programs - There are numerous community groups waiting to do the work, but who need resources and opportunities to support families of currently incarcerated individuals. The Governor and Legislature should fund community organizations who are trusted by the communities they serve to provide opportunities to better navigate corrections systems and connect with their loved ones who are incarcerated.

Ombudsperson for Corrections Removal for Just Cause

The Office of the Ombuds for Corrections (OBFC), as a government oversight entity representing the people of Minnesota, should be as free as possible from outside control or influence, or even perception of it. 
The possibility of removal from office in retribution for carrying out an unpopular investigation or making a candid and critical report and recommendations, or for political reasons, can be a real or indirect threat to the Ombuds’ independence. 
Therefore, the removal of the Ombuds should only be allowed for cause. 
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