Iowa Prisons Request Status Quo Budget

The head of the Iowa Department of Corrections believes his agency can “make do” without an increase in funding in the next state budget. But Jerry Bartruff is hoping the governor and lawmakers can find more money for the state’s prison programs.

Bartruff spoke at a budget hearing Wednesday, which was attended by Governor Terry Branstad. Bartruff is seeking just over $380 million for the next fiscal year – that’s the same amount the D-O-C was allocated last year. Bartruff said he would welcome additional funding to offset the expiration of some federal grant money and rising medical costs. There are currently just over 8,200 inmates in Iowa’s prisons, which includes the Anamosa State Penitentiary in Jones County. The state’s prisons are staffed by over 26-hundred guards and other employees. Bartruff said Iowa’s low unemployment rate has added to the difficulty of finding qualified correctional officers.

Bartruff also wants more probation and parole officers in the state. There are more than 28,000 offenders in Iowa’s Community Based Corrections program, but just over 15-hundred employees oversee the program. (Story courtesy of Radio Iowa)