Will Chauvin's prison experience remain unusual?

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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to more than 22 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd. But it’s not clear yet what Chauvin’s experience will look like.


Since his April conviction, Chauvin has been held at the state’s only maximum-security prison, in Oak Park Heights.

That’s unusual — people don’t typically go to a prison while waiting for sentencing. Chauvin is there for security reasons.

Most state prisons have a unit to separate inmates from the general population for safety or security.

But Oak Park Heights has what the Department of Corrections calls Minnesota’s “most secure” unit to separate individuals from others in the prison for disciplinary or security reasons.


Photos provided by the state show an empty cell in that unit has white cinderblock walls, slim rectangular windows, a metal toilet and sink, and a thin mattress on a fixed bedframe.

Fitzgerald said Chauvin returned to the unit at the prison following his sentencing on Friday.

She said his ultimate placement hasn’t been determined, “but his safety will be our predominate concern.”

With credit for good behavior, Chauvin could get out on parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence, or about 15 years.

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