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Difference Between Iowa Prison and Federal Prison

What is the Difference Between Federal Prison and Iowa State Prison?

While state prisons hold persons convicted of or awaiting trial for state crimes, federal prisons hold persons convicted of or awaiting trial for federal crimes. Federal crimes are violations of the Federal Criminal Code as established by federal lawmakers. Crimes that take place between state boundaries or on federal property are federal crimes. Kidnapping, credit card fraud, money laundering, federal hate crimes, and airplane hijack are other examples of federal crimes. The law also regards white-collar crimes such as corporate fraud and securities fraud as federal crimes. Federal crimes are punishable by imprisonment in federal correctional facilities.

On the other hand, violations of state laws such as those listed in the Iowa Criminal Code are state crimes. Examples of state crimes include arson, burglary, trespassing, and grand larceny. State crimes take place within a state's boundaries.

State crimes are punishable by imprisonment in state prison; however, only certain state crimes fall under this category. Iowa classifies state crimes into felony crimes and misdemeanors. State laws consider felony crimes more severe than misdemeanors and attach harsher penalties. Felonies are punishable by no less than one year in prison, and this term is served in state prison. Some state crimes, such as Iowa Class A felonies, which are considered the most severe crimes, are punishable by imprisonment for life without parole or probation. Apart from these offenses, federal prison terms are typically longer than state prison terms, and therefore, federal correctional facilities tend to hold convicted persons for longer.

The agencies that oversee both prison systems differ; state prisons are under the state's jurisdiction and are therefore managed by state agencies like the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC). Federal prisons and correctional facilities are under federal jurisdiction; therefore, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) manages them. Federal and state prisons provide incarceration records to the public through inmate lookup systems.

The Iowa Prison System

The Iowa prison system comprises all the divisions responsible for inmate incarceration, parole, supervision, and training. All the divisions work together to reduce the rate of recidivism, to reduce the number of crime victims, and to help offenders successfully re-enter society. The Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) oversees the state prison system, which also comprises the state Board of Parole and the Iowa Prison Industries. The DOC oversees and manages prisons and correctional facilities in the state. There are nine (9) facilities, which hold about 8,2200 persons, and eight (8) other district DOCs that supervise about 30,800 persons in the community. The Iowa Board of Parole makes evidence-informed parole decisions that aid offenders' successful re-entry into society. Iowa Prison Industries is a non-profit entity that provides training to inmates to enable them successfully reintegrate into society by getting jobs upon release.

IDOC oversees offender visitation, communications, and banking. Interested parties may contact state prison inmates by email, telephone, or mail. Interested parties may also send inmates money electronically, over the phone with debit or credit cards, and walk-in cash deposits.

How to Lookup Inmates in Iowa

The Offender Search tool on IDOC's website offers information on inmates' location and incarceration records. Interested parties may search the offender database using the following criteria:

  • First name
  • Middle name
  • Last name
  • Birthdate
  • Sex
  • Offender number
  • Location
  • Offense
  • Commitment county

Interested parties may visit Iowa state prisons at the following locations:

Anamosa State Penitentiary
406 North High Street
Anamosa, IA 52205
(319) 462-3504

Clarinda Correctional Facility
2000 North 16th Street
Clarinda, IA 51632

Fort Dodge Correctional Facility
1550 L Street
Fort Dodge, IA 50501
(515) 574-4700

Iowa Correctional Institution for Women
420 Mill Street SW
Mitchellville, IA 50169
(515) 725-5042

Iowa Medical and Classification Center
2700 Coral Ridge Avenue
Coralville, IA 52241
(319) 626-2391

Iowa State Penitentiary
2111 330th Avenue
P.O. Box 316
Fort Madison, IA 52627
(319) 372-5432

Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility
1200 East Washington Street
Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641
(319) 385-9511

Newton Correctional Facility
307 South 60th Avenue West
Box 218
Newton, IA 50208
(641) 792-7552

North Central Correctional Facility
313 Lanedale
Rockwell City, IA 50579
(712) 297-7521

To obtain Iowa inmate records, interested persons may query the jail facility where the inmate of interest is incarcerated.

Iowa County Jails

Iowa county jails are local correctional facilities that hold persons convicted of or awaiting trial for crimes less severe than felonies. In Iowa, serious misdemeanors are punishable by up to one (1) year in jail. Aggravated misdemeanors attract penalties of up to two (2) years in jail, and convicted persons serve misdemeanor sentences in county jails. County Sheriffs and local police departments supervise county jails. Each jail has visitation rules and instructions on communicating with and paying money to inmates. Interested persons may contact the jail administrator or county sheriff for each jail for information. Many counties, such as Hardin, Dallas, and Story provide information about local jails on public websites. Like KDOC, some counties offer inmate information on public databases. Interested parties may visit each county's website to obtain inmate information.

How Does the Federal Prison System Work?

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) oversees, regulates, and manages all federal correctional institutions. The BOP ensures that inmates serve prison terms in secure, cost-efficient, and safe facilities. The BOP also provides training and programs that help inmates prepare for easy reassimilation into society upon release. There are 112 federal prisons, with an inmate population of 152,174. The BOP also has about 37,411 employees that keep federal facilities secure and administer programs to inmates.

The BOP oversees the care and custody of federal inmates, providing education and treatment programs, including programs for special needs inmates. BOP also oversees persons under house arrest and community supervision. Interested parties may communicate with federal inmates by email, phone call, and mail. Parties may also send money to federal inmates electronically or by mailing a money order via USPS. The money order must include the recipient inmate's full name and BOP register number. Requesting parties may search inmate information through the inmate locator tool.