Inmate escape reignites security concerns at Shakopee women's prison


The mayor of Shakopee is calling for more security at the state's only women's prison after an inmate escaped Monday night.

According to Mayor Brad Tabke's blog, around 7 p.m., a prisoner got out of the facility for about 23 minutes before she was located in a nearby residential neighborhood and taken back into custody.

No one was hurt. The incident is under investigation.

Tabke calls the escape "entirely preventable."

"This prison is regrettably located in a residential area and has no fence on its perimeter," Tabke says. "When escapes happen at a prison with no fence that houses nonviolent and violent criminals, today’s event is the best possible outcome."

Tabke says for years, the state Legislature has denied funding requests by the Minnesota Department of Corrections to build a fence surrounding the prison, which is also located across the street from an elementary school, according to Shakopee Valley News.

The Shakopee facility, which opened in 1986, has never had a fence along the 4,300-foot perimeter, only a hedge.

Shakopee Warden Tracy Beltz told KARE 11 last year that as many as seven inmates have escaped from the facility since 1995. Beltz says some offenders that have attempted to escape are housed out of state because the facility has no means of securing them.

As part of a cost reciprocity agreement, a female inmate is sent to an out-of-state prison in exchange for a male inmate to be housed in a Minnesota facility.

"We can't do a female-to-female exchange. No other state will send us a female because we don't have a fence," Beltz told KARE 11.

The television station reported a $5.4 million proposal for a wrought-iron fence with brick posts that includes technology to detect suspicious activity was left out of the 2012 bonding bill.

Mayor Tabke hopes the proposal will fare better in the 2014 legislative session.

Next Up

leech lake band of ojibwe sign

11,760 acres of land wrongly taken from Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will be returned

The Senate and now the House have passed a bill that effectively returns the land. It's now headed for the president's signature.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves release first half of 2020-21 regular season schedule

The second half of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

reindeer como zoo

Watch live: Como Zoo's live reindeer cam is back for December

The live feed will run 24/7 allowing you to keep an eye on Santa's antlered helpers.


Three simple ways to boost your immune health heading into winter

Eating right is one thing, but there are other ways to stay healthy as the days shorten.

Taylor Rogers

Why Twins fans shouldn't give up on Taylor Rogers

The Twins closer struggled in 2020 but could rebound next season.

Co. Rd. 2 crash, Wakefield Twp.

Teen driver leaves road, crashes into three trees

Fortunately, the 16-year-old was not injured.

mndot deer  tunnel 1

Minnesota is getting its first highway crossing for animals

This will provide a safe way for animals to cross the street, and hopefully limit deer-vehicle collisions.

Screen Shot 2020-12-04 at 11.00.30 AM

Money Gal Coaching: Habits of a millionaire, just in time for the holidays?

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

Mayo Belle Plaine

Mayo temporarily closes 5 clinics in southern MN amid COVID surge

The Mayo is reallocating staff to other sites as it deals with the COVID outbreak.

soda pop

MDH finds 'troubling' trend in how many sugary drinks students are consuming

Nearly half of students have a sugary drink a day. Health officials recommend limiting it to one per week or fewer.


Shakopee prison officials consider beefing up perimeter now secured by a hedge

Neighbor opposition in 2006 killed the idea of a new, more secure fence around the women's prison in Shakopee. Currently a hedge is all that keeps any potential escapees inside the grounds. Now corrections officials are thinking of making another try for state funding.

4 utility workers injured at Shakopee prison

Four people were sent to the hospital with unknown injuries after an electrical mishap at the women's Correctional Facility in Shakopee. Neighbors told KARE 11 they heard a loud explosion before the area lost power, including the prison. No prison staff or inmates were injured.

Shakopee City Council supports funding for prison fence

Despite opposition from neighbors, the city agreed to a $5.4 million state allocation to put a fence around the women's prison in Shakopee. According to the Star Tribune, Warden Tracy Beltz says the design is "more decorative and stately, with wrought iron and brick columns."