Employee: 'Flawed' policy reason for spike in assaults on Minn. COs

The employee said the reduction in time inmates spend in “segregation” has led to the spike in assaults on COs in Minnesota’s prisons

By Corrections1 Staff

MINNEAPOLIS — The rise of assaults on COs in Minnesota prisons is due to a “flawed inmate disciplinary policy,” one corrections employee said.

KSTP reports that the employee, who didn’t want to be identified, said inmates found guilty of assaulting a prison staff member previously received a two-year stint in what’s referred to as “segregation.” But after a change in policy, the amount of time inmates spend in segregation has been reduced.

"With a change in policy, inmates who assault prison staff now only get 90 days in segregation instead of two years," the corrections employee said. "The inmates know they will only be separated from the general population for a short amount of time, without privileges, and they figure it is worth it, so they are now targeting prison staff."

Sarah Fitzgerald, Minnesota DOC spokesperson, said the policy was changed in September 2016. She said corrections departments nationwide are “enacting reform around the issue of restrictive housing due to mental health effects of long-term placement, and the mental state of offenders returning to our communities and living among us.”

Through the first three months of 2018, there have been 22 reported inmate assaults on COs, according to DOC records. In 2017, there were 13 assaults, and in 2016, there were eight.

The employee said the state is fortunate that no officers have been killed. On Friday, eight inmates attacked five officers at the Oak Park Heights correctional facility.

Fitzgerald confirmed that 10 COs were assaulted at the facility since Friday and that most of them required hospital treatment.

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