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Behind The Granite Wall: With Warden Collin Gau [VIDEO]

Ashli Gerdes

ST. CLOUD — With more than 40 years of experience working in corrections Warden Collin Gau oversees nearly 1,000 prisoners and more than 400 staff every day.

Behind the Granite WallThe St. Cloud Prison is an intake facility for all criminals in Minnesota. It’s the first stop for all adult males sentenced to prison in the state. They have a turnover rate of about 300 to 400 inmates every month.

The “harder” criminals as the warden calls them or those that have been sentenced for violent or psychopathic crimes are usually sent to facilities like Stillwater or Lino Lakes. The younger criminals typically stay in St. Cloud to separate them from the violent offenders.

One inmate who wished to remain anonymous has served about two years at the St. Cloud facility.

He says, “Everybody that’s incarcerated is not necessarily a bad person. Understand that we’re all humans. Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes.”

Once an inmate is checked in through the intake department Gau’s biggest challenge is safety and security.

Each prisoner is evaluated, assessed and classified before he is put into a rehabilitation or treatment program and given a cell.

Despite some misconceptions, most prisoners are not serving life sentences. About 90 percent of all inmates serve out their time and are released back into society.

Gau says,  “I can walk into this prison anytime day or night and I feel that it’s a safe secure place. The people here are good people.”

The warden’s job is to protect the public and make sure the inmates are ready to be released from the St. Cloud Prison and re-join the community.

Previous stories in the series

See a video with Warden Collin Gau below.

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