Correctional facility sits empty, funding still in doubt - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Correctional facility sits empty, funding still in doubt

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Money matters are keeping a brand new women's correctional facility empty. The Waterloo facility was finished last July, but needs funding from the state to open, and with the legislative session winding down, there are concerns it will sit empty for another year.

The facility needs a little more than $1.3 million to hire a staff.

"When we opened the facility we reduced our cost for our prison system. Community-based corrections have a long history of saving us money in the long run. Additionally it will save Cedar Valley property tax payers money because it can be used for over flow from the jail and the other correctional facilities in downtown Waterloo," said Senator Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls.

They need to hire 20 people to make sure employees are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The District Director of the Department of Corrections, Karen Herkelman, says the women there will be accountable 24 hours a day, but it also gives them the chance at a fresh start.

"The reason the facility was expanded in Waterloo in particular was because there is waiting lists for people to come in. Now they have to wait in prison or jail for four months in order to get a bed that they've already earned that placement of the order into our facility," said Herkelman.

Local legislative leaders say this year's session will not wrap up this week. They say the end is insight and hopefully the funding will come through.

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