Hundreds of inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison have been confined to their cells for a week. Fred Scaletta, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Corrections, says the lockdown is in response to a security breach.
“Basically, we discovered some contraband,” Scaletta said. “Some of the contraband is illegal and some of it is just unauthorized, which created a need to lock the prison down…and do a complete search of the whole facility.”
The 560 inmates who are under lockdown are located in the prison’s maximum-security unit. The lockdown does not affect inmates in the medium-security unit or the clinical unit.
Scaletta would not say if the contraband items were drugs or weapons.
“Because it’s still under investigation, I can’t get specific about what was found,” Scaletta said. There have been no injuries to staff or inmates, according to Scaletta. No visitors are allowed at the prison during lockdown. Scaletta expects the lockdown order could be lifted soon.
The Iowa State Penitentiary houses the state’s most dangerous criminals – including those serving life sentences for murder, rape or kidnapping. A new 800-bed maximum-security prison in Fort Madison is under construction. It’s scheduled to open early next year.