Fort Madison State Penitentiary

Alex Heuer

In Fort Madison, 550 inmates were scheduled to be transferred to a new $132 million state maximum security  prison - that was three months ago.

One of the oldest records that Iowa still holds will be lost soon. That is when the earliest operating prison west of the Mississippi will he replaced by an all-new Iowa State penitentiary. We explore the history of the Fort Madison prison, with rare audio from WOI-TV, Sky TV and MSNBC.

Alex Heuer

The Iowa Department of Corrections operates nine institutions throughout the state, and together, they employ more than 3,000 people to supervise more than 8,000 adult inmates. On today's "River to River" we continue our summer series on Iowa towns with a look at how prisons, or correctional facilities, shape the communities where they are located.

Alex Heuer / Iowa Public Radio

Have you ever wondered what life is like behind bars? On River to River today, we aired the first of a special two-part program from inside the Iowa State Penitentiary in Ft. Madison, the oldest prison west of the Mississippi still in use. During this hour, we hear from Warden Nick Ludwick, a counselor who was taken hostage during a prison riot in the 1980’s and from offenders serving life sentences.