The Floyd County Jail, established in 1941, is housed on the fourth floor of the County Courthouse.  It is licensed for 14 beds with a holding cell for short term occupancy of up to five additional inmates.  Recent peaks in incarcerations have reached up to a need for 27 beds.

In 2013, Delbert Longley, Iowa State Department of Correction Chief Jail Inspector, informed the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff that the jail did not meet the needs of the staff, public or inmates.  The layout of the jail was not user friendly and does not promote a safe working environment.  Within 10-15 years, the county would lose it "grandfathered" status.  Research to consider remodeling the existing facility, house inmates to other facilities, or build a new facility ensued.  

Housing a jail on the fourth floor creates several safety and security issues.  Below are some of the deficiencies of the jail.  

Deficiencies of the Jail

Staff Safety

There are currently seven full time Correctional Officers (jailers) who do an excellent job maintaining the jail.  Current standards indicate 12 is required to conduct day to day operations and maintain the safety of the facility.  

Check out the photos on this web page.  Notice the narrow corridors and booking area where staff are left vulnerable to unruly inmates.  

Staff are often required to transport inmates to other facilities or medical appointments, creating a potential risk anytime you leave the facility.

A past jail inspection noted that it does not appear there is enough staff to respond to an emergency in the jail.  An emergency could be any number of situations.  In the case of an evacuation, it takes several staff to escort inmates, some shackled, from fourth floor to ground floor.  

Public Safety

Bringing inmates to jail after an arrest requires officers to use the same common areas as the general public, including the elevator and corridors to the Magistrate Courtroom and the Sheriff's office.  

Inmates can be disruptive and should be sight and sound separated from the public.  Potentially a victim, witness, or juror could unbeknownst be in the vicinity of an inmate.  

Inmate Safety

The safety of inmates is as important as well. An inmate in jail doesn't necessarily make him/her a bad person; he/she may have made a poor choice.  While in county jail, we are required to provide as safe of an environment as possible.  

Classification of inmates requires properly segregating certain inmates from others.  An inmate charged with murder should not be in the same cell as a person on a warrant for writing a bad check.  Females should not be within eye or sound of males.  Juveniles (which do not have the ability to hold) cannot be celled with an adult.  A mentally impaired person may require a padded cell.  Certain physical disabilities may require special accommodations.  These classifications can limit how many inmates can be held at the same time in our facility.  

Situations such as Inmates charged with higher level of crimes, inmates connected to the same crime, inmates who cannot be around certain people, unruly inmates, or administrative orders may force the county to transport and hold inmates to another facility.  Cost to house inmates at other facilities range from $50-$65 per day, plus mileage, vehicle upkeep and staff time, typically a deputy taken off regular patrol, to transport.  And, inmates held at other facilities are still our responsibility to transport to court proceedings and medical appointments.  

The Condition of the Jail

Cells are outdated.  Failing parts to the rolling metal bar doors typically have to be custom made.  Even the keys to the antiquated door system cannot be replaced.  

Jail office space is cramped.  There is inadequate space to properly book, dress and search an inmate with two officers present. 

Equipment in the exercise/meeting room had to be due to not being suitable for inmates as it could cause injury or be used as a weapon.

The kitchen and laundry rooms is have standard household versus commercial appliances.  The kitchen prep area is substandard to prepare meals for 10+ inmates.  The kitchen is also just a few feet from jail cells and the sheriff's office causing a noise distraction at times. 

When the datamaster/intoxilyzer room, adjacent to the kitchen, is occupied, staff are required to access the kitchen through the sheriff's office, taking them farther away from the jail facility.  

Times have changed. Society has changed.  We need to change as well in order to provide a safe and secure environment to the staff, public and inmates.  

You are welcome to tour our facility.  Please click here for a schedule of tour dates.

Jail Cell Area

More Jail Photos

Booking Area

Exercise Room & Laundry Room

Kitchen & Intox Area