Over 100 prisoners in one residential unit at Minnesota’s Stillwater Prison refused to return to their cells on Sunday, leading to an incident.
“Non-Violent Rebellion: Inmates Occupy Stillwater Prison Unit for Hours”
On Sunday, an incident occurred at Stillwater Inmate in Minnesota when over 100 convicts in one residential unit refused to go back to their cells. As soon as possible, the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) put the jail on lockdown and sent more emergency personnel to the location. Although the detainees protested for almost seven hours, there were no reported injuries and the matter was settled amicably. Two correctional officers stayed in the secure control area the entire time, staying in close contact with facility command staff.
The Crisis Negotiation Team and the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) were activated as a precaution, according to DOC spokesperson Andy Skoogman. The SORT team did not, however, enter the unit, and the deployment of the negotiating team adhered to protocol. Paul Schnell, the commissioner of the DOC, highlighted that there was no violence present at the time. The majority of the inmates who at first refused to go back to their cells were occupied with non-violent pursuits like playing cards and chatting with one another in the common area.
“Outcry at Stillwater Prison: Inmates Demand Better Conditions”
Only two inmates were still being rebellious by 3 p.m., and they were then sent to a segregated section. A disciplinary procedure will be used against these people. Skoogman explained the disturbance as the result of the inmates’ annoyance with changes to cell release patterns over the Labor Day weekend, which restricted their access to phones, entertainment, and showers. He refuted allegations that the inmates did not have access to clean water. Schnell highlighted the DOC’s commitment to resolve these issues by hiring more correctional officers and securing higher pay through union contracts. He admitted that staffing issues have resulted in decreased free time for inmates.
The DOC disclosed that the jail is now operating with only 50 personnel, which has curtailed inmates’ access to programming and recreational activities. The facility’s old infrastructure, which includes a lack of climate control and windows with numerous problems, was also emphasized by Schnell. In order to modernize the 120-year-old facility, the DOC is undertaking studies and intends to ask the Minnesota Legislature for bonding funding. Marvina Haynes, who has been unable to contact her brother Marvin, expressed her sorrow and demanded that the prison’s circumstances be rectified.
The event was blamed on persistent understaffing, which requires limiting programming and leisure time, according to a statement from AFSCME Council 5, the union that represents Minnesota’s correctional officers. For the purpose of enabling transformational offender treatment, the union underlined the significance of adequate facility security. Currently housing about 1,200 offenders, Stillwater Prison made headlines in 2018 after an inmate killed an officer with a hammer. To safeguard the safety and wellbeing of both staff and inmates, the DOC is dedicated to resolving the staffing challenges and improving conditions inside the jail.