When Derek Chauvin was led out of the Hennepin County Courthouse in handcuffs after being convicted of all three counts in the murder of George Floyd, the former cop was taken to Minnesota’s only maximum-security prison to await sentencing. Shortly after arriving at the Minnesota Correctional Facility–Oak Park Heights at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, he was placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.
The restricted housing wing in which Chauvin is held is called the Administrative Control Unit, where prisoners are only allowed one hour per day outside their cells for exercise. “The ACU is the state’s most secure unit,” a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Corrections told HuffPost in an email. “Administrative segregation is used when someone’s presence in the general population is a safety concern. It’s unknown how long he will be there.” While the wing houses those who are not considered safe in the general population, it is also reserved for inmates punished by the state DOC for bad behavior. As of Wednesday, just over 10 percent of the Oak Park Heights facility’s population of 349 were held in the ACU, where cells include little more than a bench with a mattress pad, a shower stall, and a combination toilet and sink. Correctional officers are tasked with checking in on each prisoner in solitary every 30 minutes.
According to the New York Times, the court set June 16 as the date for Chauvin’s sentencing. State law dictates that second-degree murder carries a max sentence of 40 years in prison; third-degree murder carries a 25-year max; and second-degree manslaughter carries a 10-year max. Because the charges stem from the same crime, the sentences are expected to be served concurrently. The minimum amount of time Chauvin is facing is 12 years, for the second-degree murder charge.
While Judge Peter Cahill said on Monday that Representative Maxine Waters’s public comments in the case could result in an overturned verdict on appeal, Politico reports that the convicted murderer doesn’t have a lot of viable options to do so, in part because of the significant number of witnesses prosecutors called during the trial.