Bill hopes to offer outlet for incarcerated Minnesotans

Minnesota instated a Department of Corrections ombudsman in 1972, the first state in the country to do so. The purpose of the ombudsman was to hear grievances from incarcerated Minnesotans and independently investigate complaints within the Department of Corrections.

The Department of Corrections ombudsman was unfortunately eliminated in 2003, a year of many budget cuts for the state.

There have been attempts since then to reestablish the independent office, and the Senate Judiciary Committee heard a bill this week that would do just that. Proponents of the bill, including the commissioner for the department of corrections, believe that giving incarcerated Minnesotans a place to air grievances will increase safety for both those incarcerated and those working in the state’s corrections system. It’s an important step in reducing the increased violence the state is seeing in the corrections system.

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a judiciary omnibus bill. (SF 1090)