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Women’s prison to benefit from security fencing for first time

Women’s prison to benefit from security fencing for first time

27th October 2015

A women’s prison in the US state of Minnesota is to benefit from security fencing for the first time, it has been confirmed.

The Minnesota Correctional Facility for Women in Shakopee was noted for being the only correctional facility in the state not to have installed a security fence, but now security measures mean the construction of perimeter fencing has become necessary.

Rather than safeguard against escapees, as most observers would imagine, the fencing will actually serve the opposite purpose as well – stopping trespassers from entering the facility.

Shakopee Warden Tracy Beltz explained to Kare 11 News: “Many of the women here have been in horrible relationships involving domestic violence. They’ve had men in their past threaten to do them harm while they’re here.”

The fence will also benefit neighbours who will feel safer in the knowledge the prison has been made more secure. Speaking to the same news network, Lindsay Barker, who lives in close proximity to the Minnesota Correctional Facility, said: “I figured if someone was smart enough to escape from prison they’d hopefully go more than a block away, but the fence will take care of that, so I feel safe.”

The first perimeter fence in the history of the prison will cost around £3.5 million. Up until now, there has merely been a hedge around the outside of the prison, leaving both the inmates and outside residents far less secure than they will be after the construction of the high security fencing.

There are around 640 inmates in the facility serving time behind bars for a number of offences. The facility is also in close proximity to an elementary school, which might make the security fencing an even more essential measure in the views of some.

Some residents have voiced a concern that the fence blends into the look and feel of the neighbourhood, and it is expected that designers will take this into account when considering its layout.

The investment in the fence was lobbied for by Senator Eric Pratt, of Prior Lake. It is reported the fence will be manufactured from iron, rather than being built from brick and wire.