In the Fall of 2008 Chief Jail Inspector Delbert Longley issued the following comments in his inspection report for the Montgomery County Jail.
"Montgomery County Jail is an old facility that does not meet the current needs of a jail. The jail is suseptible [sic] to escapes; suicides; unsanitary conditions... The jails overall condition is unsanitary and unsafe. Staff has done a tremendous job attempting to maintain a clean, safe and secure facility. This is nearly impossible due to the design."
Chief Inspector Longley then went on to say, "The overall jail would be better suited for a 24 hour holding facility where the prisoners are to remain in a locked cell at all times."
In the Fall of 2009 Chief Inspector Longley issued a new report that echoed many of his earlier statements. He said, "The required separation of prisoners is difficult due to the design of the jail."
Inspector Longley then went on to say, "Most of the same issues that have been mention [sic] in previous inspections are still present. The painting of the jail has made a great deal of difference however, is only a temporary fix. Future maintenance is drastically needed. I encourage Montgomery County to continue to move forward with their discussions with an architect. These discussions are needed to further address the condition of the building; safety and security issues; and to provide the tools to staff they need to operate the jail efficiently."
He also noted, "Staff is doing a good job with a facility that was not designed for current needs."
Per Iowa Administrative Code 201-50.3(2), Montgomery County was required to complete corrections within a reasonable time priod. If the County were to fail to initiate corrective measures the jail inspection unit has the authority to order the closure of the Montgomery County Jail. In such a case it could be ordered that further confinement of prisoners or classifications of prisoners in the jail or any portion thereof be prohibited, or that all or any number of prisoners then confined be transferred to and maintained in another jail or detention facility, or any combination of remedies.
Upon receiving the unsatisfactory inspection reports it became necessary to investigate options to bring the facility up to code. The options were to include renovation, building a new facility, or constructing a temporary holding facility and transporting prisoners to another location.
To help make the most informed decision and choose the option that is in the best interest of Montgomery County and its residents the Montgomery County Jail Committee was formed. The jail committee was comprised of elected officials, citizens, and business leaders from our community.
Based on a number of factors, with the most important being cost and benefit to the County, the jail committee eliminated three of the four proposals and chose the proposal to build a new jail facility. The new facility will consist of a Jail and Joint Law Enforcement Center for the Sheriff's Department and City of Red Oak Police Department. Montgomery County voters approved the referendum for a new Law Enforcement Center on August 3, 2010.