Corrections-Dept-logoMore than 500 prisoners were transferred out of the state’s maximum security prison in Fort Madison Saturday and taken to the new state prison two miles away.

“We started this process in April of 2010 when we broke ground for the new facility and here we are, five years later, finally getting to be able to move our offenders,” said Rebecca Bowker, executive officer at the prison.

The transfer began near sunrise Saturday and it was done about six hours later. More than 200 police and law enforcement were on patrol in Fort Madison to provide security for the move. The new prison was scheduled to open in the spring of 2014, but a series of design flaws put those plans on hold until the problems could be fixed.

(Reporting in Fort Madison by Jason Parrott of Tri-States Public Radio; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)