Iowa State Penitentiary

The Iowa State Penitentiary (ISP) complex is located in Fort Madison, Iowa, and it consists of both a maximum and minimum-security institution. The main ISP facility currently houses 640 offenders and has two general population units as well as one restricted housing unit.  

Iowa State Penitentiary is one of nine prisons in Iowa and serves as its only Maximum Security Facility. Its vision is to provide a safer community and work environment by having a positive impact on inmate attitudes, values, and skills.

The staff at ISP believes strongly in the Iowa Department of Corrections mission, which is “Creating Opportunities for Safer Communities.” They attempt to accomplish the mission and vision by focusing on evidence-based practices in housing, programming, and being a positive role model for the offenders they supervise.

The housing units at Iowa State Penitentiary include the Maximum Security Housing Unit,

Unit One, with a capacity of 232 beds. It serves as housing for Tier One, Orientation, Disciplinary Detention, and Administrative Segregation, as well as Long-Term Restrictive Housing offenders.

Unit Two has a capacity of 224 beds, and it serves as housing for Tier Two offenders. Unit Three has a capacity of 256 beds, and it serves as housing for Tier Three offenders. This unit is double-bunked.

Medical & Mental Health Housing is located in Unit four, which houses those offenders who need special medical care. And, Minimum Live-Out offenders reside in Housing Unit Four, which is away from the Maximum Security population.

The John Bennet (JBU) is the minimum-security satellite facility under the control of ISP. The facility houses 176 offenders and is located two miles southeast of the main facility. The JBU offers a Substance Abuse treatment program that is licensed by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Additional programs include: Relapse and Thinking for a Change. Offenders in this unit work in the Community in addition to community service projects.

In an MSNBC episode of Lockup: Raw, they profiled the extensive religious programs at Iowa State Penitentiary, which allows inmates to participate in a wide range of religious observations, ranging from Buddhism and Wicca to Satanism. 

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Iowa State Penitentiary

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting Hours at Iowa State Penitentiary are on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. If a state holiday falls on a non-visiting day, there will be visiting hours on the holiday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. You must arrive by 3:30 to visit with your inmate.

Visit Procedures

Before you can visit an inmate at Iowa State Penitentiary, you must get on their approved visiting list. In order to be on an offender’s visiting list, the visitor’s application must be completed and mailed to the Central Visiting Authority.  If you have questions, please call Centralized Visiting at 319-385-9511. You can access the IDOC Visitation Application by clicking here

All visitors are required to have current photo identification to get into the facility, and everyone is subject to search. 

Searches may include, but are not limited to: a pat down, metal detectors, electronic ion scanners, other electronic devices, or visual searches. They will deny your visit if you are not willing to submit to a required search. 

Visitors may use a Debitek Card to purchase canteen items for their inmate during visits. The Iowa State Penitentiary has the written guidelines posted in the visiting room.

Dress Code

Visitors must follow the dress code to enter the visiting room. The dress code at Iowa State Penitentiary is as follows:

  • All visitors must wear shoes
  • Visitors wearing miniskirts, shorts (that are above the knee), muscle shirts, see-through clothing or halter tops will not be allowed
  • Institutional procedure will address the wearing of shorts by children under 12 
  • Visitors wearing clothing with slogans, pictures, or words intended to deprecate race, sex, or cultural values shall not be allowed entry
  • Visitors may be required to remove for the duration of the visit outerwear such as, but not limited to, coats, hats, gloves, or sunglasses 
  • A medical need for sunglasses must be verified by a prescription

Visitor Property

Items not allowed in the visiting room include:  

  • Weapons of any type (including pocket knives) 
  • Cell phones 
  • Any personal device with independent Internet connection capabilities (i.e., Kindle, Nook, Iphone, smart phone, smart watch with SIM card, etc.) 
  • Medications (unless necessary, i.e. nitro, etc.) 
  • Tools 
  • Cameras 
  • Tobacco/tobacco items (lighters) 

Baby items allowed for visitors with infants:

  • Two diapers
  • Clear baby bottle (non-glass) with milk or formula only 
  • Clear sippy cup (empty) 
  • One baby blanket 
  • One burp cloth 
  • One factory-sealed, clear, plastic container baby food 

Physical Address

Iowa State Penitentiary
2111 330th Avenue
Fort Madison, IA 52627

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number


Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name and DOC Number
Iowa State Penitentiary
PO Box 316
Fort Madison, IA 52627

Envelopes must be properly addressed and include the offenders full name, IDOC Identification number, and valid return address.  

If you would like to send an email to an inmate, you can register for O-mail at The cost for each O-mail sent is $0.25.

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at the Iowa State Penitentiary, but they do have access to a phone during assigned times, and they can call you. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Iowa, please click here.

How to Send Money

Inmate Banking

The Iowa Department of Corrections has centralized offender banking operations. All incoming money for offender spending/commissary accounts is received and handled by a central location.

All incoming money for an inmate’s account must be sent to the following address:

IDOC Offender Fiduciary Account
1550 L Street, Suite B
Fort Dodge, IA 50501

All deposits must be in the form of a cashier’s check or money order. All cashier’s checks and money orders must be made payable to: IDOC Offender Fiduciary Account. 

The cashier’s check or money order must include the following: offender name, offender number, sender’s name, and sender’s complete address. All writing should be legible. If the deposit does not follow these guidelines, it will be returned to the sender by mail. 

Access Corrections

Access Corrections deposit services provides friends and family an easy, reliable and inexpensive way to send money to an incarcerated loved one in the Iowa Department of Corrections system.

  • Online: visit for deposit rates starting at $3.49. Access Corrections accepts Visa and MasterCard credit or debit cards.
  • Online: Make deposits directly from your CorrLinks account, the website used to send O-Mail messages ( and get the same low rates starting at $3.49. Just click on the “Send Money” button to get started.
  • Toll Free Telephone Number: Call 1(866)345-1884 to make a credit or debit card payment over the phone for as low as $4.49.
  • Walk-In:
  • CashPayToday for a flat fee of $6.95.
    • Visit or call 1(844)344-CASH (2274) to register and find a location near you. You will need to provide the following information: Inmate ID #, your name, address, and other important information.
    • Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Kum & Go stores are part of the CashPayToday program.


JPay services are available for anyone wishing to send money to an offender in the Iowa Department of Corrections system.

  • Online: The website will accept payments made with a Visa or MasterCard-branded debit or credit card. Fees range from $3.95 to $10.95 based upon the deposit amount.
  • Telephone: Credit or debit card payments can also be made over the phone at (1-800-574-5729). Fees range from $4.95 to $11.95 based upon the deposit amount.
  • WalkーIn Location: Cash payments can be made at any MoneyGram Agent location. There are 30,000 MoneyGram location in the United State, including Wal-Mart, CVS, 7-11, and Albertsons. A fee of $8.95 will apply for each transaction. 


The Iowa Department of Corrections accepts wire transfers from Western Union for Offender Accounts. This does NOT include telephone accounts. Money may be sent in any of the following three ways:

The process used is “Quick Collect.” Senders must use the “Pay to” as the Iowa Dept of   Corrections. The “Code City” is IOWADOC and the “State” is IA. The “Sender’s account #” is the offender ID number and offenders last name. For example, 1234567Jones. 

If the offender number and last name do not match, the IDOC records the payment will be rejected. Fees for this service vary by amount sent.

​Programs For ​Inmates

There are programs offered at Iowa State Penitentiary through Southeastern Community College (SCC) and the US Department of Labor to provide academic and vocational opportunities.  

Through SCC, offenders can pursue adult education such HiSet, English as a Second Language and basic literacy. The Department of Labor allows for Apprenticeship programs in Cabinetry, Housekeeping, and Food Service.  

Iowa Prison Industries offers a variety of skills in the woodworking and cabinetry fields as well as a Warehouse and Farm Opportunities. Offenders may also participate in cognitive programming such as Thinking for a Change and recreational activities.

Pictures of Iowa State Penitentiary

Careers at Iowa State Penitentiary

If you are interested in a career with the Iowa Department of Corrections at the Iowa State Penitentiary, you can click here for more information.