St. Cloud prison in middle of $37 million worth of upgrades

Published 8:40 am Friday, September 8, 2017

ST. CLOUD — Every male offender enters the Minnesota prison system through the same corridor in St. Cloud, and it’s a tight squeeze.

Prisoners enter and leave the St. Cloud facility through a cream, cinder-block hallway decorated with Minnesota mascots and team logos, the St. Cloud Times reported . It’s not ideal to have inmates, who may be at odds, crossing each other, said Dean Weis, the prison’s security captain. And some staff members have been injured there.

But safety concerns for that intake area won’t last too much longer, because it’s up for renovation in the next three years.

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The prison will soon undergo the second phase of upgrades with $37 million in bonding from the state. Phase one, which included a new health center, is nearly complete. Phase two updates laundry, warehouse and intake spaces. It’s the first major renovation in the prison, Weis said. Its construction started after 1885 when the Legislature decided to open a prison on a quarry, and work continued into the 1920s, according to Stearns History Museum archives.