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Continued: Shakopee prison alone in nation in being unfenced, state says

  • Article by: DAVID PETERSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 10, 2013 - 3:00 PM

A: The offender who escaped was level three, the same as our facility at Lino Lakes, which has a razor-topped fence. This is the only facility in the country that houses medium-level security offenders and above with no fence.

Q: Neighbors have always said they were promised that no Soviet-style gulag would ever appear in their midst, and in fact visually the current facility reminds a lot of casual passers-by of a middle school. You’ve promised a stylish, Ivy League-style wall that’s in keeping with its surroundings. Does that offer the same security?

A: What it offers is a delay. It would be quite difficult to climb the fence we propose. Quite likely an offender won’t even attempt to run.

Q: Have there been meaningful changes in your circumstances since any initial promises to neighbors were made?

A: Shakopee was built in 1986, and built amid severe budget constraints. We then had 90 offenders. I believe we’re at about 550 right now [having been as high as 644 last April]. Less than 100 was a size of group that was a lot easier keep track of than what we have today.

David Peterson • 952-746-3285

  • related content

  • Except for the sign, there’s little to indicate that a passerby is walking along the Shakopee women’s prison. The Department of Corrections wants to add a wall around the prison.

  • A low fence and hedges now surround parts of the Shakopee prison, which was built in 1986 “amid severe budget constraints.”

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