Prisoners Visit EHS


Cora Heinzen, News Writer

Last Thursday, two prison inmates came to Eagan High School to present to the Criminology classes. The inmates were from a male prison in Stillwater, the Stillwater Correctional Facility. The presentation also featured an officer from the prison and a previous officer who is now a teacher at the prison.

The inmates are part of the Minimum Security Unit, which means they have a lot more free time and opportunities. They have recreation in an area with no walls or fences. However, they wear ankle monitors, and they know that if they get caught trying to escape there will be severe consequences.

In the higher security parts of the prison, the recreation yard is quite heavily guarded. There are seven towers, and the guards inside have multiple guns and weapons. If someone tries to escape, there are no warning shots. No escape has been successful so far, though there was a close call in 2002 that involved a tunnel.

The first inmate that presented has been in the Minimum Security Unit for a year and a half. He started abusing alcohol and marijuana in his early teenage years, and as he grew older the abuse grew more and more dangerous. He had three DWIs  before he went to prison. While he was drunk, he crashed the car with his friend and killed him. The charge he was found guilty of was Criminal Vehicular Homicide, and he was given 116 months in prison.

The second inmate has had to serve federal time and state time. He got involved in gangs at a young age after having no support system from his alcoholic mom and absent father. At eighteen he was caught by the federal government and spent almost nine years in federal prison. After he got out, he ended going back for two more years, followed by time in state. He served 125 months federal time, which was concurrent with his state time (This means that the time can overlap between federal and state time).

“It’s not worth it,” he stressed throughout his presentation. His first wife overdosed on alcohol and he couldn’t go to her funeral because he was in prison. He doesn’t know where his daughters are at the moment and hasn’t seen them in many years. His fifteen-year-old daughter has a warrant out for her arrest. “I blame myself, ‘cause I’m not there,” he explains. However, he is happily married and can’t wait to get out of prison and reunite his family again. He has plans to live nowhere near the city, saying, “cities is my kryptonite.” He also wants to work in mentorship programs and help kids and teenagers. He said that if he had a support system growing up he wouldn’t have joined the gang. His goal is to help prevent kids from falling into the same downward spiral that lead him behind bars.