LAW & PUBLIC SAFETYJailJails Past and Present   

Jails Past and Present

A Historical View of Jail Operations  

1995 Jail

1923 Jail

1890 Jail


1995 Jail

1923 Jail

1890 Jail


St. Louis County provides a safe, secure and professionally operated Jail.  The Sheriff and Jail Administrator oversee a 197 bed jail in Duluth as well as two 72 hour lockup facilities on the Range.  The Hibbing lockup can accommodate 8 inmates and the Virginia lockup can hold 12 inmates.  These facilities consistently exceed Department of Corrections requirements and attempt to meet the growing needs of the State Court, Department of Corrections, Public Defender's Office, County Attorney's Office and other area stakeholders.

In addition, the St. Louis County Jail provides a safe, secure and clean facility for the citizens of St. Louis County. The St. Louis County Jail is an integral part of the criminal justice system; they cooperate with other agencies, share training resources, promote mutual respect and welcome community involvement. 

Current Jail Facility 1979 Jail Population 1941 Prisoner Cost 1923 Jail 1907 Jail Interior Photos 1898 County Jail 1891 Prisoner Boarding 1890 Jail 1889 Jail Stats Pre-1890 Information 1888 Expenses Construction Overview
“St. Louis County.- The jail has been a public nuisance.  The jail had only eight cells, while the number of prisoners was sometimes over sixty.  The ventilation was poor and the prisoners’ discomfort amount to hardship and deplorable moral contamination and inevitable under such circumstances.  A large number of city prisoners were kept in the jail.  These prisoners were infested with vermin and it was impossible to keep them clean.  The result was that the county prisoners shared their miseries.

    The new jail has 32 cells for men, each 6 x 7 feet.  The general plan of the jail resembles that of the jails of Otter Tail, Goodhue and Olmsted counties, which have proved thoroughly satisfactory on trial.  The cells are set back to back, with a middle corridor, 6 feet wide.  The front of each cell is composed of open lattice work.

    The cell-fronts, floors and ceilings are of iron and steel.  The first and second floors are entirely separate.  On the second floor above the sheriff’s office are three excellent cells for women, with a bath room, and there is a bath room on each tier of men’s cells.  The sheriff’s residence is convenient and commodious, having on the first floor office, kitchen, dining room and parlor; and on the second floor four chambers and three cells for women.

    The sheriff and the board of commissioners, after consultation with the secretary of this board, concurred in the opinion that the jail should be kept on the separate plan and an excellent code of rules was prepared by the sheriff and adopted by the board of county commissioners.

    St. Louis county is to be congratulated upon the excellent workmanship and the admirable arrangement of this jail.  If the jail is administered in strict accordance with the rules which have been adopted, it will be one of the best jails in the United States.” 

     Source: excerpt from the Fourth Biennial Report – State Board of Corrections and Charities – dated October 31, 1890 

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