Explainer: Will Chauvin’s prison experience remain unusual?

Associated Press

Minneapolis – 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.

An unusual start

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 – but Chauvin is there for security reasons.

This undated photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Corrections shows a cell in the Administrative Control Unit at the Oak Park Heights, Minn., facility. This cell is similar to the cell that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been in since he was found guilty in April 2021, for the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd.

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.

How does that unit operate?

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.

Chauvin has been kept there for security since his conviction, alone in a 10 foot-by-10 foot cell that is monitored by corrections staff via camera and in-person checks. He had meals brought to his room and is allowed out for solitary exercise for an average of one hour a day.

What next?

It wasn’t immediately clear if Chauvin will remain in that unit or in the maximum security prison now that he has been sentenced.

The Department of Corrections will place Chauvin after Judge Peter Cahill’s formal sentencing order commits Chauvin to its custody.

More: Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 years in prison for death of George Floyd

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