Late last year, the Iowa Department of Corrections announced plans to move the state’s sex offender treatment program from Mount Pleasant to Newton. Sean Crawford, the program’s supervisor, says the goal was to complete the move by the fall of 2016.
“It does look like we’re going to meet that goal and be done by the end of October at Mount Pleasant,” Crawford says. There are now up to 800 convicted sex offenders housed in the Newton Correctional Facility, while around 140 inmates serving time for sex crimes who remain at the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility.
Crawford says one of the key factors in the decision to move the inmates is the Newton prison is more versatile and secure. ”Mount Pleasant is a dorm environment, while Newton is a celled environment,” Crawford says. “With the higher security designation, when offenders have behavioral issues, we’re able to deal with that here without having to transfer them to a higher security level,” Crawford says.
In announcing the decision to move the treatment program, Iowa Department of Corrections director Jerry Bartruff said he expected the Mount Pleasant prison would eventually be downgraded from a medium-security environment to a minimum-security facility, placing fewer restrictions on the movement of inmates.