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Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Red Wing State Training School

Also known as:
State Training School for Boys and Girls
Active dates:1889-
Function: Correctional facility.
History: The Red Wing State Training School is the second oldest correctional institution in the state, established as the House of Refuge by an act of the Legislature in 1866 [Laws 1866 c7]. When the school actually opened in St. Paul in 1868, it was renamed the State Reform School [Laws 1868 c15]. Because of crowded conditions and the need for additional buildings, a committee was appointed in 1887 to suggest a new site for the school. A new school was completed in 1891 on a 450-acre site two miles east of Red Wing [Laws 1889 c258]. It consisted of an administrative building, three cottages, one dormitory, a powerhouse, workshop, and barn. In 1895, the name of the school was changed to the State Training School for Boys and Girls. Boys were instructed in trades and exercised in military drills, and girls were taught sewing, cooking, laundering, and other general housework skills. The school had no religious affiliation but conducted religious and moral instruction through clergy of various denominations. The majority of inmates during the first 30 years of the school’s existence were homeless, neglected, and dependent children, mainly boys from the ages of nine to fourteen, and the school often served as a substitute foster home. Many were children of immigrants, and generally very poor. Stealing and unmanageable behavior were the most common reasons for commitment. Later laws stipulated that children be committed when convicted by the courts of a crime, except that of murder, which was punishable by imprisonment [Laws 1895 c153]. In the early 1900s, the average length of time spent at the school by an inmate was about one year. Entering inmates ranged in age from eight to sixteen years, and remained at the school until they reached age twenty-one, or until discharged.

In 1911, the girls at the school were transferred to the Minnesota Home School for Girls in Sauk Centre, and the school at Red Wing became an institution for delinquent boys only, renamed the Minnesota Training School for Boys. The school resumed co-educational status briefly from 1973 to 1976 and was renamed the State Training School [Laws 1973 c68]. In 1978, adult male offenders in minimum security were also housed at the facility and, in 1979; the name was changed to the Minnesota Correctional Facility—Red Wing [Laws 1979 c102 sec1]. The facility presently [2005] serves as the diagnostic treatment center for boys from the metropolitan and eastern regions of Minnesota who have been declared delinquent and committed by the state.
(Above paragraphs taken from, 7/22/11)
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 2015-2022.
Record last updated: 07/22/2011

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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