Skip to main content

Hennepin Co. sheriff, other law officers want to shrink national prison population

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The very people tasked with arresting and prosecuting criminals are coming together in Washington, D.C., to urge lawmakers to reduce America's growing prison population – and one top Minnesota lawman is among them.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek is one of 130 sheriffs, police chiefs and prosecutors from across the country who on Wednesday launched Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, which will meet with President Obama on Thursday, a news release says.

"I have seen first-hand the consequences of locking up too many people for low-level offenses," Sheriff Stanek said in the release. “It can kick-start a cycle of incarceration that turns first-time offenders into repeat offenders.”

The nationwide coalition says "unnecessary incarceration does not work to reduce crime, wastes taxpayer dollars, damages families and divides communities."

The group points out that the United States is home to 25 percent of the world's prisoners – despite having only 5 percent of the world's population.

While in Washington, the coalition will try to persuade lawmakers to consider changing "laws and policies that prevent law enforcement from doing their jobs effectively," the release says.

More specifically, the organization wants Congress and state legislatures to restructure criminal codes to remove "petty or duplicative offenses" where appropriate, and to reclassify nonviolent felonies as misdemeanors, with the aim of reserving prisons for only violent offenders, according to the official website.

"Police and prosecutors are often left to enforce overly harsh laws, resulting in too many people arrested and imprisoned for too long," the website says.

Meanwhile, the White House is voicing its support for a bipartisan Senate bill that would "reduce prison sentences for some nonviolent drug offenders," the Associated Press reports.

Next Up


Animal Humane Society plans trailblazing new campus

Take a look inside the plans for a first-of-its-kind adoption center and animal care campus.


Minnesota reports 'concerning level' of syphilis cases

The Minnesota Department of Health says most of the cases are being discovered in the northern part of the state.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Airport police intercept 5,600 fentanyl pills headed to St. Cloud

Three were arrested following a police raid in St. Cloud.


Minnesota switches to weekly COVID updates

The weekly updates will be provided on Thursdays.

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 12.22.08 PM

Man shot inside Oakdale movie theater expected to survive

The 23-year-old victim underwent surgery and is recovering at the hospital.


Minnesota confirms second case of monkeypox virus

More cases are expected in the coming days and weeks, the health department says.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, June 29

One of the newly reported deaths was a person aged 15-19 from Yellow Medicine County.

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 10.19.37 AM

Drone drops bag of candy near kids fishing

A black SUV quickly left the area afterwards.

FLickr - AL Franken 2016 - Lorie Shaull

Al Franken to bring comedy tour to Minneapolis

Acme Comedy is hosting the former senator in late August.


Alabama replaces Toby Keith as headliner at MN music festival

The Lakefront Music Festival is set to take place in Prior Lake on July 8-9.


Goodhue Co. considers joining Hennepin Co. medical examiner's office

An invitation from Hennepin County has Goodhue County commissioners considering the benefits of a merger. The Red Wing Republican Eagle reports extra space — whether for storage, offices or autopsies — was presented as the primary advantage. Goodhue County has also reached out to Mayo Clinic, but it has not yet provided a proposal about offering morgue services.