Minnesota State Training School

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Minnesota State Training School
Construction Began 1889
Opened 1891
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Architect(s) W.B. Dunnell
Location Red Wing, MN
Architecture Style Richardsonian Romanesque
Alternate Names
  • Minnesota State Reform School
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility (Current)


In 1890 the Minnesota State Reform School relocated to Red Wing. The cornerstone was laid on May 20, 1890, and the facility formally opened in 1891. The original site in St. Paul was too small and the buildings crowded, inconvenient and greatly in need of repairs. The water supply was inadequate and the surrounding area was becoming more populated. The Minnesota State Reform School at Red Wing was renamed the Minnesota State Training School for Boys and Girls in 1895. An agency was established by the legislature to supervise children released from the Minnesota State Training School. The department was to furnish homes and supervision for children on parole. With an annual appropriation of $3,000, it was believed that if the department kept 20 children from returning to the training school, it would pay for itself.

Today the facility provides treatment, education, and transition services for 131 serious and chronic male juvenile offenders placed at the facility either as a condition of court-ordered probation or as the result of having been committed to the commissioner of corrections. The facility also provides 90- and 120-day short-term programming, detention and predisposition evaluation services as requested by the courts. In addition, the facility provides a separate community re-entry program for 42 minimum-security adult male offenders.

Juvenile residents participate in the facility’s cognitive/behavior restructuring and skill development treatment program. Skill development is facilitated by the use of the principles of restorative justice and therapeutic community. Risk/needs assessments are completed for each resident, and outcomes are used to develop the resident’s individual treatment plan. Monthly and quarterly reports are used to measure progress toward treatment plan completion. All residents are expected to develop an individualized relapse prevention plan and demonstrate its effectiveness during daily activities prior to their release. The facility also has multiple program support services available within a regimented daily schedule.

Bob Dylan[edit]

Contrary to legend, Dylan never actually spent any time at Red Wing. Yet his 1963 song, The Walls of Red Wing, presents a harrowing, if entirely imagined, portrait of the institution.

Images of Willmar State Hospital[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Minnesota State Training School Image Gallery