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Minnesota’s new corrections commissioner fuels hope on both sides of the bars
By grandforksherald.com- Ryan Faircloth
Published: 05/13/2019

ST. PAUL — Paul Schnell let out a warm smile as he greeted a class full of some of Minnesota’s most dangerous men.

The new state corrections commissioner struck up candid conversations with several inmates during a visit to the maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights earlier this month. One asked for more educational and vocational classes like the one they were in, while another said he wished there were more psychology services to help him reflect on his actions.

Schnell listened for several minutes and assured the inmates that they were heard and he would look into their suggestions. The exchange gave a glimpse into the mind of Minnesota’s new corrections chief. A former police chief with a degree in social work, Schnell is committed to the well-being of the officers who guard state prisons and the inmates who reside in them.

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