WIUM Tristates Public Radio

New Iowa State Pen Could Open in April

Mar 4, 2014

Crews are trying to make up for lost time at the new Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.

Inside the new Iowa State Penitentiary
Credit Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio

Warden Nick Ludwick predicted, last fall, that March 2014 would be the month that inmates would be transferred to the new facility just north of Fort Madison.

The prediction came before a winter of sub-zero temperatures and several feet of snow.

The weather forced Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin to tell lawmakers in early February that the transfer would likely be pushed back to late April or early May.

Iowa State Penitentiary Spokeswoman Rebecca Bowker says at this point, the answer falls somewhere in the middle.

"We are still trying to maintain a target date of March," says Bowker, "(but) realistically speaking, that most likely will be pushed back into April."

Bowker says crews are working on some geothermal issues and waiting for the right conditions to pour concrete for several exercise modules.

She says both projects must be finished before the inmate transfer can begin.  From there, inmates will be on restricted movement until authorities deem appropriate.

The actual transfer should be completed in one day.