Ramsey County (MN) probation officer celebrates 37 years of lives changed

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Twin Cities Pioneer Press on 8/3/2015 by Ben Bartenstein

Ramsey County probation officer Darrell Pridgen listens during a session with repeat offenders in St. Paul on April 22, 2009. Pridgen and Ramsey County Judge George Stephenson are working with group of men entangled in the criminal justice system. For nearly five years now, on their own time, without fanfare or official sanction, Stephenson and Pridgen meet two nights a month with some of the most chronic "revolving door" offenders to help them change their ways. (Pioneer Press: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo)

Ramsey County probation officer Darrell Pridgen listens during a session with repeat offenders in St. Paul on April 22, 2009. (Pioneer Press: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo)

 

In 1960s Germantown, the Philadelphia neighborhood where Darrell Pridgen grew up, gangs were rampant, street crime the norm and gunshots an everyday event.

Several of his cousins were locked in the penitentiary, and Pridgen said he might have joined them if he hadn’t found a creative outlet. Instead, he graduated from college, started a family and had a long career.

Pridgen, 61, retired last month from Ramsey County after 37 years in Community Corrections. Colleagues called him a “trailblazer,” the first African-American man to hold many of his positions and an officer who pushed for more minority hires.

 

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