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Minnesota Agencies

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

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Corrections Department

Also known as:
Minnesota Department of Corrections
Active dates:1959 -

Administers correctional institutions in Minnesota, and conducts rehabilitation programs and crime and delinquency prevention programs.


The Corrections Department was established by the legislature in 1959 (Laws 1959 c263), bringing together in one department the functions formerly performed by the independent Youth Conservation Commission, the Board of Parole, and the Corrections Division of the Department of Public Welfare. The Youth Conservation Commission continued within a Youth Conservation Division until 1973. The Board of Parole and Probations was replaced by the Adult Corrections Commission operating as part of the Division of Adult Corrections (also until 1973).

A service and regulatory agency, the department has a broad scope of activities and responsibilities. The department currently operates ten correctional facilities including eight for adults and two for juveniles (as of January, 2011). It provides probation, parole, and supervised release services; it provides subsidies to local units of government through the state Community Corrections Act for community-based corrections services; and it provides services and assistance to victims of crimes.

Related to:
Agency heads:

Will Turnbladh (1959-1965)
Ray Lappengaard (1965-1966)
James Alexander (1966-1967)
Paul Keve (1967-1971)
David Fogel (1971-1973)
Kenneth Schoen (1973-1978)
Jack Young (1979-1982)
Orville Pung (1982-1993)
Frank Wood (1993-1996)
Gothriel La Fleur (1996-1999)
Sheryl Ramstad Hvass (1999-2003)
Joan Fabian (2003-2011)
Tom Roy (2011-2019)
Paul Schnell (2019- )

Note: The Legislative Reference Library may have additional reports on or by this group available through our catalog.
Tales from the past: The planned closing of the St. Cloud Reformatory in 1970s. Roger Baburam, MCA Forum, November/December 2023.
Kelly Lyn Mitchell named assistant commissioner of Community Services and Reentry at DOC. MinnPost, 8/15/2023.
Former DOC Commissioner Kenneth F. Shoen obituary. DOC News, September 2021.
Q&A: DOC's Paul Schnell: Reserves could fund prisons 'a week, maybe two' with no budget deal. Session/Law, 6/23/2021.
Fourth Minnesota prisoner dies of COVID-19 complications. Two other Minn. inmates remain hospitalized and breathing on ventilators.. Star Tribune, 11/23/2020.
Obituary: Orville Pung, who advocated for humane incarceration and drug treatment, served as corrections commissioner to three governors. St. Paul Pioneer Press, 9/2/2020.
Budget woes force two prison closures. Minnesota Lawyer, 8/3/2020.
Citing budget shortfalls, Department of Corrections to close two Minnesota prisons. A $14 million budget shortfall is forcing significant cuts, says DOC chief Schnell.. Star Tribune, 8/3/2020.
Minnesota Department of Corrections plans prison closures to address budget crisis. Department of Corrections Press Release, 8/3/2020.
Second death of COVID-19 positive man incarcerated at MCF-Faribault reported by Minnesota Department of Corrections. Department of Corrections Press Release, 6/27/2020.
Death of COVID-19 positive man incarcerated at MCF-Faribault reported by Minnesota Department of Corrections. Department of Corrections Press Release, 6/25/2020.
Walz touts corrections head Paul Schnell's style. Minnesota Lawyer, 1/8/2019.
A timeline of crime, corrections, and the Minnesota Corrections Association, 1933-2018. Minnesota Corrections Association, 2018.
News clippings and documents: Commissioner of Corrections. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1959-2019.
News clippings and documents: Department of Corrections. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1973-2021.
Record last updated: 04/22/2024

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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