Minnesota has an incarceration rate of 342 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities), meaning that it locks up a higher percentage of its people than almost any democracy on earth. Read on to learn more about who is incarcerated in Minnesota and why.
Jump to COVID-19 data.
21,000 people from Minnesota are behind bars
Additionally, the number of people impacted by county and city jails in Minnesota is much larger than the graph above would suggest, because people cycle through local jails relatively quickly. Each year, at least 69,000 different people are booked into local jails in Minnesota.
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Also see these Minnesota graphs:
Today, Minnesota’s incarceration rates stand out internationally
In the U.S., incarceration extends beyond prisons and local jails to include other systems of confinement. The U.S. and state incarceration rates in this graph include people held by these other parts of the justice system, so they may be slightly higher than the commonly reported incarceration rates that only include prisons and jails. Details on the data are available in States of Incarceration: The Global Context. We also have a version of this graph focusing on the incarceration of women.
People of color are overrepresented in prisons and jails
See also our detailed graphs about Whites,
and American Indians/Native Americans
in Minnesota prisons and jails.
Minnesota's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails
Data on COVID-19 in Minnesota jails and prisons
We gave Minnesota a failing grade in September 2021 for its response to the coronavirus in prisons, noting that:
- Minnesota suspended medical copays in prisons at the beginning of the pandemic - but later decided to bring them back.
- Minnesota failed to utilize one of the most obvious, and easiest, tools for reducing the prison population — stopping prison admissions for technical violations of probation and parole (which are not crimes).
For more detail, see our report States of Emergency. Or check out these other resources:
- Minnesota suspended medical copays in prisons at the beginning of the pandemic — why is it bringing copays back now?
- Our Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic page tracks criminal justice policy responses to the coronavirus all 50 states
- State prison and jail population data for February 2022. (Previous data is available for October 2021, June 2021, February 2021, December 2020, September 2020, August 2020, and May 2020.) Data availability varies by state.
- As of late April 2021, only 66% of corrections staff in Minnesota prisons had gotten the COVID-19 vaccine
- How crowded are Minnesota prisons, as of December 2020?
- How many COVID-19 cases in Minnesota communities can be linked to outbreaks in correctional facilities? (data from our report Mass Incarceration, COVID-19, and Community Spread)
Our other articles about Minnesota
Prison-based gerrymandering in Minnesota