Governor Branstad will be in Fort Madison this morning (Wednesday) for a ribbon cutting at the new Iowa State Penitentiary.
Reporters were given a tour of the $130 million facility on Tuesday. John Baldwin is the Director of the Iowa Department of Corrections and says inmates will begin moving into the new 800-bed prison early next year. The facility is replacing a maximum security prison that was built in 1839, the oldest prison west of the Mississippi River.
Iowa State Pen Warden Nick Ludwick praised the architects of new prison. Plans were launched shortly after two inmates escaped from the current facility back in 2005. The new prison is equipped with 386 cameras.
Rebecca Bowker oversaw the construction of the prison for the Iowa Department of Corrections. She said corrections staff at the current prison had a lot of input on the design and requested that everything be kept on one level.
Staff at the prison also requested the facility’s “tower” be located in such a way as to see every entrance into the prison’s 45-acre campus that’s secured. Overall, the new site spans 90 acres of land.