ST. PAUL, Minn. — This week, seven corrections officers were physically assaulted and injured in two separate Minnesota prisons: the Stillwater Correctional Facility and the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights. In response, Senator Heather Gustafson (DFL-Vadnais Heights) released the following statement:
“I am horrified to hear of the incidents of assault made against seven corrections officers in Minnesota this week. My thoughts and prayers are with the injured officers, their families, and the surrounding community, but I also refuse to stay silent on addressing the larger issue at play here. The job of a corrections officer is extremely difficult and dutifully performing the responsibilities of this role comes with high risk. Many of these cases of injury and assault could be prevented if our prisons were adequately staffed and corrections officers more supported.
In her statement, AFSCME Council 5 Executive Director Julie Bleyhl said “Increased Safe Staffing levels in every facility and investments in all staff must be prioritized in order to properly staff and secure these often-dangerous workplaces across our state to maintain public safety.” I want to echo this statement with full support. Right now, I’m doing the work in the legislature to remedy staffing levels at corrections facilities. My bill SF 2137 increases funding for the Department of Corrections to improve staffing and support so incidents like these become far less common.”