DOC offers rare look inside prison facility in Moose Lake

February 20, 2019 10:19 PM

Minnesota Correctional Facility-Moose Lake opened its doors Wednesday, giving 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS a window into life behind bars in a medium-security prison.

Warden Nate Knutson said there are more than 1,000 offenders housed in the facility - the majority convicted of sex crimes.

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"We have just about every crime offense represented here," Knutson said. "But the majority (are) sex-related offenses, and our staff does a great job working with offenders to help prepare them for life once they leave here."

Knutson showed KSTP the woodworking and garment shops where offenders receive training and skills, along with pay, to help them prepare for transition back into civilian life.

"We want them to do the things they can do well," Knutson said. "Our goal is to see them go back to their families and their communities and be better than when they arrived here."

Knutson said his top priority is hiring more correctional officers. And, of course, getting more funding "to continue our successful, pro-social programs for the offenders," he said.

Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell also visited Moose Lake Wednesday and offered the same goals as Knutson.

"Everyday lives are changing and transforming for the better in Moose Lake," Schnell said. "You can see those things in the relationships between officers and offenders, and in the educational and vocational programs here."

In his first month since being named DOC commissioner, Schnell is visiting each correctional facility in the state and opening doors at those facilities to the media in order to make a strong public case for increased funding at the state legislature.

"We have great people who are doing great things at all of our facilities, and we owe (it) to the staff and offenders to make things better and safer for everyone involved."

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Jay Kolls

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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