Steve Haupert

State report: Greene County Jail well-managed but outdated


The Greene County Jail is clean and well-managed but outdated, the county board of supervisors was told this week.

Greene County Sheriff Steve Haupert presented to supervisors Monday the findings of a recent Iowa Department of Corrections inspection of the jail.

“It’s not falling apart at the seams. It just takes some maintenance,” Haupert said of the eight-person county jail built in 1974.

The regularly timed inspection came amid several high-profile news reports this summer of prison escapes, including a “pretty ingenious” one — Gov. Terry Branstad’s words — at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison in which an inmate escaped from a maximum-security cell through piping, then off the roof using 67 feet of bedsheets.

The inmate was recaptured in Illinois.

That escape followed the one in upstate New York involving two convicted murderers — one of whom was eventually shot and killed, and the other recaptured.

In late May, two inmates escaped from the Warren County Jail in Indianola.

State jail inspector Delbert Longley in his report dated July 21 found the Greene County Jail to be compliant, but was blunt in his criticism of the jail’s basement exercise area.

Getting to the exercise area requires prisoners be moved through non-secure areas of the Greene County Law Enforcement Center, 204 S. Chestnut St.

“This is a serious liability concern for Greene County,” the report stated, calling it a safety and security issue for law enforcement, inmates and the public.

The same issue has been addressed in past inspections, according to the report.

County supervisors accepted the inspection report Monday with barely a comment.

The inspection also found visitation at the Greene County Jail to be of concern, as inmates are again moved through unsecured portions of the LEC to an office area.

The report suggested video visitation as a viable alternative.

The jail in general no longer meets the needs of prisoners, staff and the public, according to the report.

“It’s working,” Haupert said.

There have been as many as 10 inmates at one time in the eight-person jail, according to Haupert.

On inspection day, six inmates were being held in the jail.

More prisoners are being held at the county level, Haupert said, particularly for probation violations.

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