ST. PAUL -- Minnesota prisons sent inmates to “the hole” a record number of times last year.

A total of 8,281 solitary confinement sentences were issued in 2018, according to state Department of Corrections data.

That’s up 42 percent from the 5,828 times state prisons punished inmates with segregation in 2006. The overall prison population increased just 9 percent in that same span.

Inmates may spend days, weeks or even months in solitary for offenses that range from disorderly conduct to homicide. They spend 23 hours a day in a small, sterile cell that typically has just a bed, a shower, a sink and a toilet.

Here’s a look at the state prisons that punished inmates with segregation the most last year:


The Stillwater prison punished inmates with segregation 2,257 times last year. The close-security facility houses more than 1,500 adult male offenders.


The close-security prison in Rush City segregated inmates 1,254 times last year. The facility houses just over 1,000 adult male offenders.


The Faribault facility is Minnesota’s largest state prison, with a population of more than 2,000 adult male offenders. Faribault isolated inmates 1,141 times last year.


The St. Cloud prison is the intake facility for the state Department of Corrections. More than 1,100 inmates are housed there. The prison punished inmates with segregation 1,101 times last year.


The Lino Lakes prison is a medium- and minimum-security facility that houses more than 1,300 adult males. A total of 700 solitary sentences were issued there last year.


Oak Park Heights is the only maximum-security prison in Minnesota. It houses just under 400 offenders and sent inmates to “the hole” 694 times last year.


The medium-security Willow River prison houses more than 1,000 male offenders. Inmates there were punished with segregation 567 times last year.


The Shakopee facility is Minnesota’s only all-women prison. It houses more than 650 women and issued 545 ­solitary sentences last year.


This minimum-security prison houses up to 90 adult male offenders for a boot camp program where nonviolent inmates can earn an early release. It segregated offenders 11 times last year.


The Red Wing facility houses juvenile offenders and also provides a separate community re-entry program for a few dozen adult male inmates. It segregated offenders 11 times last year.