Shutdowns of Iowa prison units won’t be lifted amid state budget woes

Amid protracted state budget problems, Iowa prison officials have no plans to reopen three prison satellite units with room for about 400 inmates at Harpers Ferry, Clarinda and Fort Madison, as well as a community corrections facility in Sheldon.

Iowa Corrections Director Jerry Bartruff initially ordered the closures in February as a stopgap measure to comply with a $5.5 million reduction in his department’s budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

The Iowa Board of Corrections was notified last week that the Luster Heights prison camp near Harpers Ferry has been returned to its owner, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said Iowa prison spokesman Cord Overton. The other three facilities will not be considered for reopening in the Department of Corrections’ budget request to the 2018 Iowa Legislature, he added.

“All of the staff that had been working at the institutions that were consolidated were offered the opportunity to fill other vacancies within the Department of Corrections,” Overton said.

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