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Former guard raises concerns about Minnesota prison

A former Minnesota corrections officer, who resigned following a colleague's death, says he's concerned that the state Department of Corrections is putting profit from its prison industry program above corrections officers' safety.

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 2:59 PM

STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) — A former Minnesota corrections officer, who resigned following a colleague's death, says he's concerned that the state Department of Corrections is putting profit from its prison industry program above corrections officers' safety.

Joe Miller is one of three officers who quit after Joseph Gomm was killed last week at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. Gomm was allegedly killed by an inmate in a MINNCOR Industries building, where inmates make products for public agencies and private companies.

Gomm is the first Minnesota corrections officer to die on duty, the department said.

The MINNCOR program generates less than 1 percent of the agency's budget, the department said. The funds are used for education and re-entry programs, along with maintenance projects and security equipment, the department said.

The prison has had about 20 staff for the 300 inmates spread out in buildings that have numerous blind spots, Miller said. He said he's voicing his concerns to honor Gomm and that he hopes changes in the department can prevent another loss.

"If I can say something that helps, I will," Miller said. "But I'm done."

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has also expressed concerns about insufficient staffing in Minnesota correctional facilities. The union said it has lobbied the Legislature for increased staffing and funding to no avail.

State Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy said he and other leaders of the department have for years tried to secure funding from the Legislature for more corrections officers.

"The notion that we don't care is something that we push back pretty hard on," Roy said. "All of our executive staff have significant correctional experience themselves, (and) everything we do relates to the safety of those officers, including our security procedures and our training."

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 289303

Reported Deaths: 3434
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin616511100
Ramsey25903487
Anoka20522218
Dakota20096183
Washington13066109
Stearns1291098
St. Louis7935101
Scott782754
Wright702436
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Sherburne538640
Clay463856
Carver432213
Blue Earth387112
Rice386033
Kandiyohi373819
Crow Wing334631
Nobles298729
Chisago29358
Otter Tail282818
Benton278642
Winona258128
Mower241323
Douglas237631
Polk234423
Morrison219524
Lyon201911
McLeod195610
Beltrami194615
Becker187512
Goodhue185727
Steele17826
Itasca176124
Isanti174316
Todd171612
Carlton165710
Nicollet150823
Freeborn14465
Mille Lacs141630
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Waseca134011
Cass12849
Brown125011
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Hubbard103822
Martin101920
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Renville75119
Sibley7414
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Rock6829
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Fillmore6320
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Traverse1360
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Cook600

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Reported Deaths: 2282
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Polk32695327
Linn13801164
Scott1068881
Black Hawk10631132
Woodbury10061120
Johnson932336
Dubuque904191
Story666620
Dallas619957
Pottawattamie602967
Sioux362025
Webster348432
Marshall342044
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Clinton315939
Buena Vista297914
Des Moines278218
Muscatine278268
Warren270510
Plymouth265639
Wapello248671
Jones226913
Jasper210942
Marion200019
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Carroll194621
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Henry17917
Crawford172015
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Jackson140712
Delaware139621
Washington136914
Boone132911
Dickinson132710
Mahaska124127
Wright11986
Buchanan114110
Clay11184
Hardin111310
Page11074
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Mills10097
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