I wonder where the city of St. Cloud, Minnesota got its name? That is where Vince is now ensconced: St. Cloud State Correctional Facility (SCF). It’s about 2 hours’ drive northwest of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
I love statistics so I felt a small thrill when I discovered the Daily Inmate Profile Report which, as its name implies, changes daily but probably not dramatically. The prison was built in 1898 on the site of an old granite quarry.
On the day I looked, a “total of 1,098 adult offenders are under the Case Responsibility of Minnesota Correctional Facility – St. Cloud with a total of 1,026 adult offenders currently on-site at this facility.” Wow! I had no idea. Before he derailed, Vince had lived in a little town outside Rochester, called Fountain, which had a population of 410 people. SCF must feel like a big city to him. And it is only one of 10 correctional facilities in the state. And that doesn’t include jails or workhouses.
Eighty-five percent of the prisoners are between the ages of 18 and 45. That’s a lot of testosterone; I wonder if the drop off in the older population groups is related to men’s lower testosterone levels as they age.
Three hundred and seventeen are in for drug offenses, and the average sentence is 39 months (Vince got 50 months). The next category is domestic assault (232 inmates, serving an average of 23 months). Then there’s just regular assault, with 194 inmates serving an average sentence of 37 months. I’m betting a lot of that was fueled by drugs and alcohol—not an excuse, a contributing factor. Then there are 52 guys in there for drunk driving, obviously involving alcohol, serving an average of 51 months. I’m guessing most of them must have committed multiple offenses.
Fifty-three percent of the inmates are white, compared with 85.5% of Minnesotans as a whole. Thirty-two percent are black and 11 percent are Native, compared with 5 and 1 percent overall in the state. Oh, those Asians, living up to their reputation of model minority! Three percent of those locked up and 4 percent of Minnesota’s population. Latinos aren’t separated out but there’s a note that 59 prisoners counted in the groups above are Hispanic.
I scanned the religion column and saw that 52% were Christian, 7% Native, 3% Muslim, and a whopping 28% had no preference. Oh, and there was one Jew.
And oh, damn, there were my 20-year-old fears confirmed in black and white. Forty percent of the inmates had no high school diploma, compared with only 9 percent of Minnesotans overall.
Seems like you’ve been through a lot with your son. You knew where it was headed the day he dropped out of school. These “kids” have no concept that they will grow up and not be kids anymore. The hard thing is that he never made the right causes to get any other effect than where he is right now. What will change that when he gets out? No matter how much he may want things to be different they more than likely won’t be. He doesn’t have the tools to make these changes.
I have enjoyed – although that really isn’t the right word – reading the posts. I can see your frustration. Have you been in touch with M.I.S.S.? If not, look it up. The people there understand what you’ve been through.
Thank you for your comment. I will check into MISS–I am learning so much about prisons and families of prisoners!
I found them to be a very welcome community of mostly women who have lost mostly sons. You can find another community at the forum at jaypay.com although it is al kinds of relations where miss is mostly moms and sons. When you go through the sea of emotions that something like this can put you through it’s often comforting to talk to people who know exactly what you mean because they are there as well. The young man who is the subject of my blog is not my natural son ( one picture will show you that!) But his tied to me through the blood of my grandson. Jamie’s own mother has shown him soo little concern over these years. He had so little support from anyone and over the years he has become my son. The situations are very different between him and your son but they are both in the 30’s and for their own reasons have not been able to have the life they may have wanted. And they are both in prison although I don’t know if your son has had to deal with the deprivation of solitary confinement. If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out my website mynameisjamie.net. Tell me what you think. It’s a labor of love for me that he will be able to read himself one day. And I hope that your son figures out what he’s supposed to do with his life so at the end of it, it won’t be completely full of regrets. Hang in there.
I saw a refer come in from this address and didn’t recognize it at first so I thought I’d come take a look. It’s so hard to get back to all the blogs. I try to do a few a day. Then I remembered you! How is your son doing? I don’t know what you read but since I was last here I started a book I wanted to write about Jamie’s experience. http://mynameisjamie.net. I posted 2 of the chapters. If you log into the main page there are two links for ‘InsideOut’ if you’d like to read them. If you’d like to be on the mailing list fill out the contact form at the bottom( I want it done by July of next year) . Did you ever go to MISS?