Department of Corrections

John Pemble

The Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison is home to more than 300 of Iowa's most dangerous inmates, or otherwise known as "lifers." Hundreds of other men serving time there will eventually return to their communities.

Emily Woodbury

After nearly 42 years serving Iowa and Michigan prison systems, Iowa State Penitentiary Warden Nick Ludwick retires January 30. 

On retirement

"I've been asked if I have any regrets in my career, and my answer was 'Yes, I have one, and that is that I didn't come to Iowa sooner,'" he says. "This experience has been that positive of an experience for me."

Emily Woodbury/IPR File

$34,113 a year. That's the average annual amount the I0wa Department of Corrections spends per inmate according to an audit of DOC institutions from 2011 to 2015. 

The audit also shows that the average annual cost per inmate rose by 15 percent since 2011, and during this same time period the total inmate population decreased by seven percent.

Steve Dick, financial manager for the DOC,  says when you have fewer prisoners the daily costs of running an institution are not as spread out. So expenses are divided by a smaller number of people. 

Emily Woodbury

  

Note: this was originally published on October 20th, 2015.

One year and nine months after the completion of the new Iowa State Penitentiary, more than 500 of Iowa’s most dangerous offenders were transferred to the new grounds. On this edition of River to River – a look inside Fort Madison’s new $166 million maximum security prison.

Emily Woodbury

In August, more than 500 of Iowa’s most dangerous offenders were moved into the new $166 million Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison. The new facility is a quantum leap ahead of the “old fort,” as it was known, some of which dated back to the 1830s, before Iowa became a state.

Iowa Prison Industries

The Iowa Supreme Court says inmates can increase payments for court-ordered restitution, even if the amount they pay to the Iowa Department of Corrections is reduced.