Moose Lake Prison Celebrates 25 Years

Posted at: 06/18/2013 5:10 PM | Updated at: 06/18/2013 11:57 PM
By: Laurie Stribling

The Minnesota Correctional Facility in Moose Lake celebrated its 25th anniversary Tuesday.

The building was the Moose Lake State Hospital, but the space was repurposed creating many jobs in the small community. More than 400 people are employed by the two sites, in Moose Lake and Willow River.

"For the community, it means jobs," Warden Becky Dooley said. "It means children going to the schools."

Current and former staff, along with area leaders, gathered Tuesday at the prison to celebrate the site's history. One person in the crowd experienced the transition first hand.

"In 1983, I started here as an LPN," Lieutenant Ruthann Parish said. "When it became a prison, those jobs for state hospital workers were pretty few and far between. So, I decided I would try the prison thing."

This facility doesn't just benefit the community, it also gives offenders a second chance.

"We do things in the community to give back to the community," offender Scipio Royle said.

Royle is in the Challenge Incarceration Program. It's a boot-camp style, early-release option where offenders go through different types of therapy. That's offered at the Willow River site.

"Behaviors become habit after awhile," Royle said. "After we practice them in here, when we are on the streets we can do the right thing and step the right foot forward."

Royle and fellow offenders in the program performed a cadence at the anniversary ceremony. Also during the program, there was a guest speaker and K-9 unit demonstration.

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