The Mankato Democrat who chairs the Minnesota House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division committee is headed back to prison.
As lawmakers consider taking action to bolster safety and staffing in state prisons, Representative Jack Considine and his committee held a hearing at the Minnesota Correctional Facility – Stillwater last week.
On Wednesday, Considine is traveling back to the prison, “And I’m going to have some focus groups with inmates and I think one focus group with some of the custody staff.”
Because inmate safety and not just that of guards is also a concern, Considine added that it makes sense to include them in the work to make changes and for them, “To have an opportunity to voice what they think we can do to improve the system.”
Considine explained, “I don’t want to get into trying to micromanage the prison. I’m not going to listen to individual complaints but as a group, ‘What are some things we can do to improve the situations in the prison to make them safer for both residents and custody staff?'”
The move to address prison safety this legislative session comes after the deaths last summer of corrections officers Joseph Gomm and Joe Parise in two separate incidents. Gomm was the first officer ever to be killed in the line of duty in a Minnesota prison.
Considine was a security counselor at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter for many years.