OPENING SOON: Women’s Prison Expanded

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Crews are putting the final touches at the new women's prison facilities in Mitchellville.

Inamtes at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women will begin moving in next month.

Many inmates say the current prison is too small. "It's overcrowded and as far as the facilities, they seem to be really small,” said Elizabeth Best, an inmate.

The original facilities were built to hold 450 inmates but currently there are about 600.

Officials hope the five new buildings and renovations to two existing buildings will raise the capacity to nearly 900 beds.

Crews kept the 16 foot razor wire fence and added more than 200 cameras.

Warden Patti Wachtendorf says the more open and brighter feel will improve the mood of the inmates and help them work towards release.

“We want it to be bright to give prisoners the right mood and the right atmosphere to make the changes they need to make so when they get out, they don't re-offend,” said Wachtendorf.

The total cost of the renovation is $68,000,000. It will house all of Iowa's female offenders by this coming February.

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