Corrections Commissioner Schnell on why Minnesota should consider more early release

A corrections officer enters a building inside of Stillwater prison.
A corrections officer enters a building inside of Stillwater Correctional Facility in Bayport, Minn., in January 2019.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2019

The Department of Corrections is introducing legislation that would allow prisoners to earn an early release before serving the majority of their sentence — if they follow an individual rehabilitation plan. 

In an interview with MPR News host Angela Davis, Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell says the Minnesota Rehabilitation and Reinvestment Act could dramatically transform incarceration by shifting focus from the time prisoners spend in the correction system to what they do with that time. 

Under the proposal, prisoners would receive assessments and services ranging from substance abuse counseling to vocational training. Prisoners who follow their plans would be eligible for release after serving half their sentences and also be eligible for fewer months of supervision if they continue to follow program goals after release. 

The Department of Corrections estimates these changes would save $10 million per year, money which would go toward increased services for victims, crime prevention and intervention, community-based correctional programs and the state’s general fund.


  • Paul Schnell is the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

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