Today, inmates will file into the new state-of-the-art segregation unit at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater that officials say will prevent future mayhem such as a flood and fire on the day after Christmas 2004, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The 60,000-square-foot segregation unit, with 150 cells, increases segregation capacity by 40, improves guard safety, and better prevents inmates from wreaking havoc. The project cost $19.6 million.
The old segregation unit was in a cellblock in the original prison built in 1914. “We had staff getting assaulted through the bars,” said Warden John King. “Offenders would throw water or urine through the bars.” The new unit features more than 100 security cameras, wider hallways, and solid cell doors that prevent inmates from throwing items, grabbing at guards, or passing items to neighboring prisoners. Videoconferencing facilities mean guards no longer must escort inmates to see visitors. About 110 of the prison’s 1,382 inmates are in segregation.