Corrections Director: I'm Embarrassed by Prison Delays

Jan 22, 2015

Iowa’s top prison official was in the hot seat at the Capitol.   

John Baldwin answered lawmakers’ questions about long delays in opening the new state prison in Fort Madison.  

House Republicans have called for an investigation and members of the House Oversight Committee will tour the new prison on Friday.  Problems with the exhaust system persist, and it may be the end of the summer before prisoners move in.   

Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin apologizes for the delay.

“This  project is at least a year behind schedule,” Baldwin says. 

Baldwin says they’ll have to retrain staff.

“You can't expect staff to go in there 15 to 18 months after we trained them,” Baldwin says, “and expect them to function in the new high tech environment.”

Baldwin says paying for that and other costs has sidetracked their efforts to boost staffing levels at the prison.  

Problems persist with the new prison’s exhaust system.   Baldwin couldn’t say whether the architects or the contractors are to blame.

“We’re still investigating that,” Baldwin says.

Baldwin says it could be the end of the summer before prisoners move in to the new facility.