County Jail earns 100 percent compliance score

The 150-bed Mille Lacs County Jail has received the highest possible compliance scores this year with a 100 percent rating in its 125 mandatory rules and 100 percent in the remaining 101 essential areas.

Both the sheriff’s department’s command and line staff are to be commended, he said. The compliments are deserved by the jail staff since some of the older parts of the jail “can be challenging to manage and operate,” said Lindgren, who took office in 2003.

The jail is inspected every two years and  during 2004, the jail also received 100 percent compliance in mandatory and essential. Here are the jail’s compliance scores after 2004, with mandatory shown first and essential next: 2006 – 98.98 and 97.7; 2008 – 98.25 and 100; 2010 – 100 and 100; 2012 – 99.14 and 100; 2014 – 100 and 100.

The A ratings that the jail has received since 2004 has allowed the jail’s operational capacity, or how many inmates the jail is allowed to legally hold, to increase from 78 inmates in 2002 to 147 this year. Lindgren says that has allowed the county to house more inmates for other counties and for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, bringing in nearly $5 million in revenue since 2002 to the county.

The most challenging part about housing inmates, Lindgren said, is that they are a such a diverse population.” He explained that they include gang members and various races. There could be some troubled gang members of gangs, possibly the Latin Kings, Native Mob and Gangster Disciples and if any have issues with others, “we don’t want them in the same pod,” Lindgren said.

The county has 40 plus correctional officers and the jail is staffed 24 hours a day, with 5-7 deputies at any one time, according to Lindgren. “It’s a big deal,” he continued, explaining that the jail has “all the people who don’t want to be in there. A lot of them aren’t happy” and may be thinking about how to get out or “how to settle a score,” he said.

Lindgren said the compliance ratings at the Mille Lacs County jail are far superior to the ratings in the 1970s and ‘80s and those lower ratings reduced the amount the jail’s capacity at times. “In the early ‘80s the jail was shut down, closed,” Lindgren said. That meant having to have other counties hold Mille Lacs’ prisoners for a time, he noted.