It was inaugurated in the earlies 1980s as Springfield State Prison and received women from a prison located in Yankton, South Dakota. In 1985 the first male inmates were admitted and twelve years later it became a prison facility for male inmates only; all female inmates were transferred to Herm Solem Public Safety Center. In 1999 it was named after Mike Durfee.
Most inmates at Mike Durfee State Prison require low to medium monitoring. However, there is a disciplinary segregation unit. Inmates at Mike Durfee State Prison can attend several interesting programs such as: Adult Basic Education, Literacy, Vocational Education in Welding, Auto Body, Horticulture, Landscape and Machine Tool. There are also specific programs for those inmates that depend on drugs and for sex offenders.