In a matter of months, more than 600 inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison will transfer to a new location.
The old prison dates back to 1839, even before Iowa was an official state. Warden Nick Ludwick says he looks forward to working in a place that doesn’t resemble an old fortress.
The Iowa Department of Corrections felt it was time to shutter the state’s oldest prison and build a new one.
By 2014, more than 600 inmates will transfer to the new prison just a couple miles down the road. The new facility will hold up to 800 inmates — that will have to get used to sharing a cell.
“One of the primary differences is one of the four new housing units is a double bunk housing unit. That has set many of our offenders into somewhat of a tizzy, where they’re concerned that they might actually have to share a room with another offender. This is not new on a national basis and it’s not new at our agency. It just happens to be new for the offenders housed at this institution,” says Ludwick.
The new prison will also include enhanced video surveillance, with more than 300 cameras on site.