Jack Rice - Blog

Jack Rice is a criminal defense trial lawyer who provides legal advice to those charged with crimes in Federal and Minnesota State courtrooms.


Jack's Blog & Media Appearances

Minnesota Correctional Facility, Shakopee

On October 18, 2005, we broadcast The Jack Rice Show live from the Shakopee Women's Prison. This is the only women's prison in the state of Minnesota. As a prosecutor, I had a hand in sending some of these women here. As a defense attorney, I did my best to keep them out. As a broadcaster, I do my best to bring the stories of these women, as well as those who are responsible for maintaining order at this place.

During the broadcast, we interviewed the Commissioner of Corrections, the Warden of this prison, the Director of Programming, Guards, and, of course, the inmates themsevles.

On a crisp fall day, I stand outside of this prison, unsure of what I will find inside. The youngest inmates are 16 or 17 but have been certified as adults. The oldest? 91. All are mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, friends, enemies, neighbors. I guess it would be a lot easier to just call them criminals but life is rarely that simple.

Every visitor is required to sign in, have their background checked and to leave identification, in exchange for the privilege of entering the only Women's Prison in the state of Minnesota.

While at first glance, it appeared like a liberal arts college, once you enter and look into the faces of the women incarcerated here, some for the rest of their lives, it becomes very clear that this is no simple education. And the tuition is too much for most!

One woman, Suzanne, has been here for four years. She is young. Only 26 with long brown hair and brown eyes. Her hair touches her shoulder blades. In order to explain to her young daughter how long she must stay her, she explains that she can't come home until her hair grows down to her butt.

She was convicted of Arson and will not leave this place until March of 2008. And yet, she holds onto the hope that her daughter will remember and love her throughout her incarceration here. A tall order for a four year old . . .