History of Corrections in Minnesota
In the mere forty years of which the publication "Corrections Retrospective 1959-1999, Minnesota Department of Corrections" is based, Minnesota's corrections history has vastly changed. During this time, one can observe an ever shifting correctional philosophy, how sentencing tendencies tend to reflect changes in attitude, how community members have been involved as corrections volunteers and also the effects of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction on the system.
The earliest correctional philosophy can be dated back to the first Territorial Prison in Minnesota. According to Orville B. Pung, the administrators and observers during this time period believed "prisoners should be treated humanely and prison should enhance the inmate's work ethic." Also during this time, the belief that an environment which allowed for and encouraged "real reformation" would be beneficial to younger inmates as he/she evolved. This would explain why a night school was established and why prisoners were allowed to possess papers and books. The theory that prisoners are better served separately can be observed since very early in the development of correctional institutions in Minnesota. At first, female inmates were house in different locations from the male inmates at the same prison. Later, an entirely separate institution was dedicated to accommodating adult females at Bayport and then Shakopee. The same modifications can be observed with relation to juvenile offenders. First male and female juvenile offenders were incarcerated at the same general location but had separate living quarters. Following the lead of reform groups, a new girls' institution was opened at Sauk Centre. The Minnesota Department of Corrections has suffered from one major problem throughout history: overcrowding. While this makes operating institutions significantly more difficult, the correctional administration continued to strive for philosophies which...
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