The Iowa Department of Corrections is confident that staffing levels will not be an issue at the new Iowa State Penitentiary.
The entire staff at the current maximum security prison near the Mississippi River will move to the new facility built just north of Fort Madison in about four months.
DOC Director John Baldwin says additional staff is not needed because of the decision to close the Clinical Care Unit.
He says the inmates housed there were transfered to two other prisons.
"That freed up 54 additional staff," says Baldwin, "so you have 441 staff who will be supervising right now about 580 offenders. That is a great staffing ration in any prison terms."
Baldwin says staffing and inmate levels at the new Iowa State Penitentiary will be reviewed after 6-12 months. He says it will take at least that much time to gauge the new facility.
The new maximum security prison can hold about 800 inmates in three housing units and several health care units.
Baldwin says if more inmates are transferred to Fort Madison, it is possible more staff could be needed.
The union representing Iowa's prison guards has called for more staff at facilities across Iowa, including Fort Madison.