Information for Persons in Local Correctional Facilities
Local correctional facilities include city and county jails and detention centers; and juvenile secure detention and secure residential facilities. Local facilities do not include MN DOC Correctional Facilities (state prisons), for state prisons go to the OBFC complaints page.
The Office of the Ombuds for Corrections (OBFC) is required to refer local facility compliance complaints to the Department of Corrections Inspection and Enforcement unit (DOC I&E).
What to do if you have a complaint about a local adult or juvenile correctional facility in Minnesota:
Grievance Process: First follow the facility grievance process; all facilities are required to have one.
Local Authorities: If you believe facility staff have engaged in misconduct, contact the appropriate local authorities such as the sheriff or county corrections department responsible for the facility.
DOC Inspection & Enforcement Unit (DOC I&E): The Office of the Ombuds for Corrections (OBFC) is required to refer local facility compliance complaints to the Department of Corrections Inspection and Enforcement unit (DOC I&E). If you believe the facility is violating state law or policy, and are not satisfied with the local response, you may contact the Minnesota Department of Corrections I & E Unit. Information can be found here. The I & E Unit has jurisdiction over rules under which local facilities are approved to operate.
Ombuds for Corrections (OBFC): If an action of a local facility is in compliance with state law and policy, but you believe it is unreasonable, unfair, inefficient, or otherwise problematic, you may bring it to the attention of the OBFC. All other local facility complaints should be directed as described in 1-3 above. The OBFC can also investigate complaints about actions of the Minnesota Department of Corrections and DOC facilities (prisons). You can file a systemic complaint with the OBFC about a local adult or juvenile facility through the systemic complaint form.
Like local adult facilities, most local juvenile correctional facilities are licensed by MN DOC I&E and complaints about violations of policy should also be reported to MN DOC I&E. The exception to this is if there is maltreatment:
If a child is in immediate danger, contact 911 immediately.
If the child is not in immediate danger, MN state law requires maltreatment of minors be reported to the MN Department of Human Services (DHS). Call 651-431-6600 to report suspected abuse or neglect of a child.
If you have questions about where or how to report concerns regarding a juvenile in a local correctional facility or if you need assistance in filing a complaint, please call us at 651-539-4520 ext. 1 or email us at OBFCComplaints@state.mn.us.
Who Is the Ombuds for Corrections? The Office of the Ombuds for Corrections (OBFC) is a neutral and independent investigator of complaints regarding Minnesota’s corrections agencies. The OBFC is a separate agency that acts independently from the Department of Corrections and reports directly to the Governor.
Who Is the DOC Inspection & Enforcement Unit? The Department of Corrections Inspection & Enforcement Unit (I & E Unit) conducts regular inspections of local correctional facilities and has enforcement authority to order corrective action for violations of mandatory state standards under which facilities must operate. The I & E Unit also licenses juvenile facilities, city jail facilities and adult halfway houses.
Ombuds and DOC I&E Cannot Duplicate Services: Minnesota statute 241.91 gives OBFC jurisdiction to investigate local adult and juvenile correctional facilities. However, the statute also requires that the similar services provided by the I&E Unit of the DOC are not duplicated. The OBFC and the DOC have entered into an agreement, as required by statute, that maintains that the DOC has jurisdiction for local facility compliance complaints.
What the Ombuds Does: When it comes to local facilities, the OBFC may investigate systemic and discretionary policy issues and make recommendations for changes. The OBFC investigates all types of complaints about actions of the Minnesota Department of Corrections and DOC facilities (state prisons).
What the DOC I & E Unit Does: The DOC I & E Unit assures rule compliance for the jails (Rule 2911), municipal facilities (Rule 2945), halfway houses (Rule 2920) and juvenile facilities (Children’s Residential Facility Rule 2960). They inspect, monitor corrective actions and incidents, review complaints to assure rule compliance and report to the Commissioner of Corrections.
What They Both Do: Both agencies share mutual goals of safety, security, fairness and justice for incarcerated persons. The Ombuds and I & E Unit staff may refer complaints that are outside their respective jurisdictions to other regulatory agencies as appropriate and/or provide information for self-advocacy.
The Immigration and Custom Enforcement Department of the federal government (ICE) contracts with certain local jail facilities in Minnesota for the detention of individuals who are under the control of ICE.
How do I find out if someone is detained under ICE control and where they are held?
The online locator website Online Detainee Locator System (ice.gov) provides an option to search for individuals currently detained under ICE control and lists the facility where they are detained. Individuals in transit to other locations or moved to a hospital or other community facility may not appear in the locator. If an individual does not appear in the on-line locator, you can contact the ICE Enforcement and Removal Office (ERO) in Minnesota at 612-843-8600 for more information.
How do I get information for a facility that is housing an ICE detainee?
Facilities that house ICE detainees under a contract are located here: Detention Facilities | ICE. Information about the facility including location, visiting information, mailing address and how to contact the facility is included in the links provided. Please note that this website is not always up to date. You may also do a search on a county’s web site at: www.mncounties.org/aboutmnc/counties/county_websites.php where you can find information on how to contact the Sheriffs Department.
What if there are concerns about the health or treatment of an individual being detained under ICE control?
In addition to the options described above for all local facilities, community members may call the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Detention Reporting and Information Line by dialing 1-888-351-4024. This is a toll-free service that provides a direct channel to communicate with ERO to answer questions and resolve concerns. Live trained operators are available Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) to respond to inquiries from those in ICE detention and from community members. Additional information on this service is available here: www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Document/2015/DRIL_helpline_flyer_community.pdf