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The Iowa State Prison System

According to the Iowa code Title XVI, imprisonment is one of the acceptable methods of punishment in Iowa, intended to reform the convicts and protect the citizens. The facilities and institutions designed for this purpose make up the state’s prison system.

All adult prisons in the state of Iowa are run by the Iowa Department of Corrections, the governmental agency constituted by law under Chapter 904 of the Iowa Code to be responsible for such operations. The department directly administers the prison facilities, funds and organizes all community-based corrections programs. In addition, handles the inspection of all county and city jails and performs all other related duties involved in the successful incarceration of prisoners. The department also manages all pre and post-prison relations between an offender and the law, such as work-releases, pre-trial releases, parole, probation, and the presentence investigation.

What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in Iowa?

A prison and a jail are both facilities that serve to confine persons required by law to do so. However, there are differences between the two facilities. A jail in Iowa is a temporary holding facility for offenders with short jail time ranging from a few hours to up to two years. The offenders in this facility are either guilty of minor offenses or awaiting trial. Other types of detainees include recently arrested individuals and persons awaiting trial and cannot pay bonds. The police department, the local law enforcement office and the sheriff’s office manage jails in Iowa.

A prison in Iowa houses persons convicted of serious offenses against the state. For example, a felony. A prison is a long-term holding facility compared to jail, and it accommodates large numbers of people for long periods, which can last from two years up to the end of the offender’s life. Iowa prisons have more developed accommodation facilities such as infirmaries and larger land areas. Prisons are also more specialized than jails and can be customized to increase security levels to contain more dangerous prisoners. As such, these facilities are designated with specific security levels to indicate the types of prisoners held in that facility. The Iowa Department of Corrections runs the state prisons.

How Many Prisons are in Iowa?

There are nine prisons in the state of Iowa, all run and owned by the state. The state of Iowa hosts no federal prisons and does not engage private prison contractors. The following is the list of prisons in the state:

  • Anamosa State Penitentiary: Maximum and medium security prison

406 North High Str,

Anamosa, IA 52205

  • Clarinda Correctional Facility: Medium security prison

2000 North 16th Str,

Clarinda, IA 51632

  • Fort Dodge Correctional Facility: Medium security prison

1550 L Str,

Fort Dodge, IA 50501

  • Iowa Correctional Institution for Women: Medium security prison

420 Mill Street SW,

Mitchellville, IA 50169

  • Iowa Medical and Classification Center: Medium security prison

2700 Coral Ridge Ave,

Coralville, IA 52241

  • Iowa State Penitentiary: Medium and maximum security prison

2111 330th Ave,

Fort Madison, IA 52627

  • Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility: Minimum security prison

1200 East Washington Str,

Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641

  • Newton Correctional Facility: Minimum and medium security prison

307 South 60th Avenue West,

Newton, IA 50208

  • North Central Correctional Facility: Minimum security prison

313 Lanedale​,

Rockwell City, IA 50579

How do I search for an Inmate in Iowa State Prison?

Parties can locate inmates currently in detention in Iowa by visiting the detention facilities in person. Alternatively, interested parties can use the option of searching through the offender search tool. However, requestors must provide the inmate’s full name, birth dates before incarceration and after, gender, offender number, location of the detention facility, offense, and the county of commitment.

Are Incarceration Records Public in Iowa?

The Iowa Public Records Law grants access to public records maintained by the government and its agencies. That said, an incarceration record often holds vital information pertaining to the convicts, including full names, date of birth, gender, nationality, arrests, booking details, the charges, bail or bond conditions, information on the court, and parole date. Incarceration documents are public in Iowa and accessible at the Iowa Department of corrections.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Look Up Jail Records in Iowa?

Iowa criminal history files are obtainable from the Criminal History Record Dissemination Unit, under the Division of Criminal Investigation. In-person, mail, online, and fax requests are the acceptable forms of inquiries. Interested persons must complete the Criminal History Record Check Request form and pay $15 per the last name. Following Chapter 692.2 of the Code of Iowa, files with deferred judgment, arrest cases more than 18 months without any verdict, and signed release are inaccessible to the public. The mailing address for mail requests is;

Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation

Support Operations Bureau 1st Floor

215 E 7th St

Des Moines IA 50319

Fax: (515) 725 6080

Phone: (515) 725 6066

Requestors can request arrest records from the local enforcement authority in the county of arrest.

Can Jail Records be Expunged in Iowa?

In Iowa, criminal records can be redacted as per the new expungement Iowa Code 2020, Chapter 901C according to the class of offense. Furthermore, the court will grant expungement following the case’s dismissal and if 180 days have passed. Filing for criminal record expungement requires that interested persons;

  • Get copies of personal criminal record
  • Fill out the court form to expunge the criminal record
  • Proceed to submit the completed form to the same court where the conviction took place.

For an expungement process to be successful, the convict must have no pending charges. Expungement is only available once in a lifetime. The expunged files will be made confidential and only available with a court order.

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