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History of the Minnesota Department of Corrections
 


Shakopee Women's Reformatory farm in 1926

1927
All clothing worn by men in state institutions was produced at the St. Cloud Reformatory.

1931
The State Board of Parole was made a separate department with three members appointed by the governor. One member served as a full-time director.

A statewide probation system for district courts was established.

1933
The Minnesota Probation and Parole Association was formed. In 1966 the Association became the Minnesota Corrections Association.

1935
Reformatory prison camps were authorized by the legislature.

1939
The Board of Control was abolished and the Department of Social Security created. All powers of the State Board of Control were transferred to the Director of Public Institutions and the newly created Department of Social Security.


Warden and deputy warden demonstrating possible use of television cameras for
security purposes at the State Prison in 1939

1945
In accordance with a bill passed by the legislature, a portion of the State Reformatory was set apart by the Director of Public Institutions for the care of delinquent “feebleminded or mentally deficient persons.” These persons were committed as mentally deficient wards, rather than sentenced as criminal offenders. The law was repealed in 1963.

1947
The Youth Conservation Commission (YCC) was established in law to assume the authority of the Director of Public Institutions relating to juvenile offenders. Minnesota was the second state to create this type of youth authority. Its purpose was to prevent delinquency and crime and to re-train the offender. The YCC received youth 18 to 23 years-old committed from district courts.


Cellhouse A at St. Cloud State Reformatory in 1923

1948
State reception and diagnostic centers were established. The receiving cottage at the Minnesota State Training School for Boys and a cottage at the Minnesota Home School for Girls were designated as reception and diagnostic centers for the YCC. A section of the Minnesota State Reformatory for Men was designated as a YCC reception center and the first ward was admitted.

1949
Responsibility for juveniles in state correctional schools was transferred to the YCC. With this action the legislature gave the YCC complete jurisdiction over delinquent youth committed to the state. The first statewide system of probation and parole for juveniles went into effect.

1951
A Youth Forestry Camp was established at Willow River for young male felons. Formerly, the site was a WPA camp established in 1934.

1953
A major riot occurred at Stillwater Prison with serious damage. Inmates were protesting prison conditions and rules. There were reports that residents in nearby Bayport could hear the inmates shouting.

1955
A Forestry Camp opened at Thistledew Lake for delinquent boys 16 to 18 years-old.

1957
The first juvenile detention facilities in Minnesota were completed by Hennepin and Ramsey Counties.


Inmates at the State Reformatory manufacturing license plates in 1954

 

 

 

 

Minnesota Department of Corrections
1450 Energy Park Drive
Suite 200
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108

651-361-7200

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