Minnesota Department of Corrections closing 2 state prisons for financial reasons

The Minnesota Department of Corrections announced Monday it plans to close two state prisons due to financial reasons. 

The DOC said it is closing the Togo and Willow River prisons—the state’s two smallest prisons to address “a substantial budget crisis.” The DOC is facing a $14 million budget deficit for the current fiscal year. 

The combined budget of the two prisons is $11 million. The DOC said it also plans to reduce the corrections commissioner’s staff and central administrative services as well as renegotiate the purchase of service contracts to balance the budget. 

The total DOC budget in the current fiscal year is $611 million. 

Both the Togo and Willow River prisons operate the Challenge Incarceration Program, a minimum security boot camp program that allows qualified non-violent offenders to earn early release. The DOC said the program will continue to operate in full at other Minnesota Correctional Facilities. 

The DOC said the majority of the 99 full-time positions at the Togo and Willow River prisons will be eliminated, but some will be retained to support the continued operation of the CIP. 

Closing the two prisons leaves the state with nine adult correctional facilities run by the DOC.