No wonder she's smiling: Inside Kim Potter's WOKE prison where inmates can bloom

Kim Potter was transferred to Minnesota Correctional Facility, Shakopee, which is about 25 miles southwest of Minneapolis


                            No wonder she's smiling: Inside Kim Potter's WOKE prison where inmates can bloom
The jurors convicted Potter of two manslaughter charges in the killing of Wright (Photo by Minnesota Department of Corrections/Twitter)
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Former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter, who fatally shot a Black man, Daunte Wright, during a traffic stop, was found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter on Thursday, December 23. Kim Potter's sentencing is scheduled to take place on February 18, 2022. Attorneys on both sides will now be given time to prepare their arguments in favor of the sentence they wish to see Potter get. A probation officer also will conduct what is called a pre-sentence investigation. Information that could be relevant at the sentencing will now be gathered, including about Potter’s life and history.

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Potter will remain in custody and will be held without bail. The maximum penalty for first-degree manslaughter predicated on reckless use/handling of a firearm is as many as 15 years in prison. However, Potter has no criminal history, and as per Minnesota sentencing guidelines, she might have to serve roughly between 6 and 8.5 years in prison.

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Following the verdict, the former Brooklyn Center police officer was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs. Her husband Jeff, a former law enforcement officer, was heard saying, "I love you, Kim", to which Kim answered, "I love you back." Potter was transferred to Minnesota Correctional Facility -- Shakopee -- which is about 25 miles southwest of Minneapolis, the state Department of Corrections said. 

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The facility where Potter, 49, has been transferred to reportedly gives inmates a 'chance to bloom'. The facility, which houses about 650 female prisoners, reportedly offers various in-prison programs designed to help in rehabilitation, as per Prison Fellowship. The inmates of the five-level security prison are invited to participate in a 5K runs, continue their education and grow their relationship with God. 

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The facility in question is the first prison to offer a pipeline program allowing inmates to pursue a degree in law while they are still in prison. "We've come here [to prison] because we have done something wrong," inmate Angelina said in the promotional materials. "To be able to have that second chance means everything."

Meredith, a former drug dealer, has served at least two sentences in the prison. She said that she participated in the Prison Fellowship Academy during her second sentence, which made her realize that there were people who cared about her.

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"People just take you where you're at, and the grace - the astronomical grace! People that actually want to care about you and want to help you succeed. It doesn't feel superficial like so many of my other relationships," she said. "It's a humble confidence - knowing who you are deeply rooted in Christ, you don't need anybody externally to tell you about yourself."

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Earlier this year, a woman called Maureen Onyelobi became the first known incarcerated woman to take a law school admittance test. Onyelobi is now seven years into her life-without-parole a prison sentence. She was able to sit for her LSAT at Shakopee through a program called the Prison to Law Pipeline. The program, however, is yet to be approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

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According to Warden Tracy Beltz, the facility helps inmates re-enter the world. "This is not a soft-on-crime approach [to corrections]," Beltz told Prison Fellowship. "This is the stuff we know works to keep people out of prison. Prisoners need those community connections. They need people to support them in their reentry. They need people that are going to hold them accountable to do the right thing, while encouraging them," she said. "When you promote that [life] can be bigger than just a prison—do your time and get out—it does something to the psyche and to the population,' Warden Beltz says. The women start seeing things [differently]. They start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel."

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Daunte Wright, 20, a biracial man who identified as Black, was shot dead by Potter on April 11, 2021, during a traffic stop. The incident took place during an attempted arrest for an outstanding arrest warrant in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Police later said that Potter meant to use her taser, but used her gun accidentally instead, shooting Wright in the chest. Potter was subsequently arrested on April 14, charged with second-degree manslaughter, and booked into the Hennepin County Jail. She was later released on $100,000 bail. Back then, the shooting prompted widespread protests across Brooklyn Center.

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