DOC ignores workers’ pleas for increased safety measures, prison takeover ensues

Publish Date


For immediate release 
Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023 
CONTACT: Ashley Erickson 
Cell: 507-450-5511 

DOC ignores workers’ pleas for increased safety measures, prison takeover ensues 

STILLWATER – Despite Dept. of Corrections (DOC) staff raising concerns about staffing ratios and worker safety, agency leadership continue to ignore employees’ demands for help.  

Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) President Megan Dayton says inaction from DOC officials contributed to today’s inmate takeover and subsequent lock down of the Stillwater Correctional Facility, where MAPE members work as therapists, caseworkers and in other positions alongside correctional officers on site. 

“Our members at the Stillwater Correctional Facility put their lives on the line every day to keep Minnesotans safe and provide incarcerated persons the services they need to work toward rehabilitation and reentry in our communities,” Dayton said. “I’ve heard firsthand from some of our nearly 800 DOC workers that prison workplaces are in dire need of staffing and safety overhauls.” 

MAPE leadership recently kicked off a tour of correctional facilities across Minnesota in hopes to see firsthand the need for increased staffing and more robust safety measures while showing agency leadership, and staff, the union supports workers’ tireless attempts at change. 

“We have been doing site visits and listening to our DOC staff. Commissioner Paul Schnell and other agency leadership have not. Staffing levels are dangerously low. Our members in DOC are repeatedly asked to do more with less and it shows,” Dayton said. “What is it going to take to make DOC leadership see these demands are valid, overdue for change and worthy of agency officials’ energy?” 

“Today’s takeover at Stillwater is a direct result of DOC leadership’s unwillingness to listen to staff. It should be a wakeup call for top officials at DOC; a sign that status quo is no longer acceptable and serious investments of time and resources are necessary to make Minnesota’s correctional facilities a place that staff, and incarcerated persons, feel safe and supported,” Dayton added.