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Minnesota Court Records

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The Minnesota State Prison System

The Minnesota State Prison System’s smooth functioning is mainly the responsibility of the Department of Corrections (DOC). Minnesota’s DOC is responsible for caring, keeping, and rehabilitating offenders who are incarcerated in any of the State Prison or County Jail. There is a four-level custody classification system in the State where offenders are held based on the severity of their crimes. The custody levels are; minimum, medium, close and maximum. The Department of Corrections supervises two types of offenders; Felony offenders and Probationers. The DOC also runs the Sentencing To Service program, where non-violent offenders are sentenced to community service, which sometimes runs concurrently with jail time. Minnesota’s Department of Corrections is headed by a Commissioner, assisted by Assistant and Deputy Commissioners.

What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in Minnesota?

It is common for people to use the word ‘Jail’ and ‘Prison’ interchangeably. However, in the State of Minnesota, there is a significant difference between the two terms. A Jail in Minnesota is the facility that houses offenders charged with minor misdemeanours and is sentenced for one year or less. The Jail also houses offenders who are awaiting sentencing. The Jail in Minnesota allows for inmate’s work release where an offender may be released to go to work or attend school. Whereas, Prison in Minnesota means that the offender is being incarcerated for a crime that is considered a felony in the State. The sentencing to the State Prison is usually more than a year, but then, an inmate in the State is expected to spend two-thirds of sentencing in the Prison or Pentiary and the remaining on a supervised release once the inmate proves to be of good conduct.

How Many Prisons are in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, there are four Federal Prisons, ten State Prisons and County Jails (almost all the counties have at least a jail). The Federal Prison is supervised by the North Central Regional Office, while the State Prisons and County Jails are under the control of the Department of Corrections. The below are the prisons in Minnesota;

  • Federal Prison Camp, Duluth- a level two prison and a medical care facility housing about 350 inmates
  • Federal Medical Center, Rochester- a level three and four prison and medical care facility housing about 638 male inmates.
  • Federal Correctional Institution, Sandstone- a level one prison and medical care facility housing about 1,062 male inmates
  • Federal Correctional Institution, Waseca- a level two prison and medical care facility housing about 598 female inmates
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility, Faribault- a level one, two, three and four State Prison that is capable of housing 2,005male inmates
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility, Lino Lakes- a level one and three State Prison capable of housing 1,316 male inmates.
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility, Moose Lake- a level three Prison that can house 1,053 male inmates.
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility, Oak Park Heights- a level four State Prison that can house 444 male inmates
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility, St. Cloud- a level four State Prison that can house 1,028 male inmates
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility, Stillwater- a level one and four State Prison capable of housing 1,622 male inmates
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility, Red Wing Adult- a level one Prison that can house 4e male inmates.
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility, Rush City- a level four State Prison with the capacity of housing 1,018 male inmates
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility, Shakopee- a level one to five State Prison with the capacity of housing 650 female inmates
  • Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP), Togo- a prison facility that can house 96 inmates

How do I search for an Inmate in Minnesota State Prison?

A requester can either search for an inmate online or offline. Searching for an inmate offline means that the requester has to visit the detention facility where the inmate is held. The administrative office of each jail and prison in the State maintains a record of all inmates in the facility. Searching for an inmate online can be done through the DOC’s website at the Offender’s Locator. A person searching can choose to search by name or by the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MNDOC) Offender ID number. The MNDOC offender ID number will produce the information concerning the particular inmate. But searching by name may produce different inmates with the same name, so the searcher will have to click on the particular name of interest. Alternatively, the requester can send a mail or visit the State’s Department of Corrections to search for an inmate.

Minnesota Department of Corrections

1450 Energy Park Drive Suite 200

Saint Paul, Minnesota 55108

Phone: (651) 361–7200

Fax: (651) 642–0223

Are Incarceration Records Public in Minnesota?

All records documented, kept and maintained by a government agency are regarded as public records. Records like arrest records, court records, criminal records and incarceration records are all public records in Minnesota. The laws concerning Data Practices in the State defines public records and the procedures for which the information contained in the records can be requested and disseminated to the requester. Only sensitive information that has been classified by a statute or a Federal law as non-public, private or confidential is kept away from the general public.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, County, or State that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Look Up Jail Records in Minnesota?

There are several ways of looking up jail records in Minnesota; an interested person can either look up jail records by mailing or visiting the exact jail where the record holder was incarcerated, or such a person can look up the Department of Corrections where the records of all the State’s offenders are kept. Another way to lookup jail records is by mailing or visiting the office of the County’s Sheriff.

Can Jail Records be Expunged in Minnesota?

Some jail records can be expunged in Minnesota, but it is usually a difficult and complicated process that depends largely on the offense committed, and the petitioner’s conduct since after completing the sentencing. When the court grants a statutory or whole expungement, the jail records will automatically be expunged. A whole record expungement means that all records; arrest, court, jail and any other record kept by any government agency on the incarceration or accusation of a person is sealed and inaccessible to the public. Only a whole record expungement can guarantee the sealing of a jail record. Chapter 609A.03 of the Minnesota statutes state the procedure for requesting the expungement of a criminal record. However, offenses that qualify for expungement under the Minnesota Law are;

  • Juvenile offenses
  • Drug offenses that are committed for the first time
  • Minor or gross misdemeanor which depends on the crime, the offender’s criminal history and how much time has passed since the last sentencing.

The only way any of the above offenders can qualify for expungement is if;

  • The crime committed was not so severe
  • The petitioner does not pose as a risk to the society
  • There is a substantial time lag since the occurrence of the crime
  • The petitioner has fulfilled all rehabilitation requirement
  • The reason for expungement is a necessity. For instance, the petitioner needs the expungement to obtain employment or get an apartment.
  • Has no pending trial, nor has been prosecuted since the last sentencing
  • Has no pending restitution
  • The court determines that the petitioner has fulfilled all requirements

In the State of Minnesota, the estimated period for the expungement process is usually four months at the least.

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