‘Softer, gentler’ women’s prison to open in Iowa

MITCHELLVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Iowa corrections officials are about to open a newly renovated and expanded women’s prison in Mitchellville.

The $68 million facility is designed to offer a more cheerful environment for female prisoners, while maintaining security.

Patti Wachtendorf, warden of the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, says the new prison provides a “softer, gentler” approach based on studies of the best correctional practices. The vast majority of Iowa’s women prisoners will eventually be released.

The new, 30-acre site also includes a 16-foot chain-link fence topped by razor wire.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled Monday. Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds are expected to attend, along with 200 other guests. Inmates will start moving into the new units in December.

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