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Clinton County Justice Center


A study completed by the National Institute of Corrections determined that the existing Clinton County Justice Center, built in 1969, was outdated and obsolete. The oldest jail of its size in Iowa, its linear design wasn’t conducive to inmates or staff safety, ADA compliance was lacking, and several maintenance issues were uncovered (no room for electrical panel expansion, the building’s exterior was cracked and leaking, heating and cooling systems couldn’t keep up, and doorways/hallways were too small to allow for much-needed replacement of kitchen and laundry equipment).
The study recommended that Clinton County begin immediate planning to replace the aging building. The longer they waited, the more costs it would incur.


Shive-Hattery conducted a space-needs assessment to define a facility that would fit the needs of each Clinton County department, allow for efficient operation, and provide information for a successful bond referendum campaign, It was determined that renovating the existing facility was not feasible nor cost effective.

Instead, a new 59,000-square-foot Clinton County Justice Center was designed to house Sheriff’s administrative offices, emergency operations center, the 911 emergency communications center, and a 96-bed jail with expansion for up to 126 beds. The site housing the existing jail and historic courthouse was selected as the site for the new center.

The addition was designed to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, respecting the historic courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Similar materials and design elements were used in a way that isn’t confusing or distracting from the existing facility. Modular steel cell technology keeps initial construction costs and long-term maintenance costs minimized.

Due to its historical significance, an existing connecting walkway comprised of glass remains the focal point of the property. This connection also allows inmates and the general public to be separated in the parking lot, courthouse, and elevator for safety purposes. Mechanical system upgrades were also provided for the existing courthouse based on lifecycle cost analyses.

A jail pod design, which arranges sections of cells around a central control station for continuous monitoring of inmates, replaces the existing linear layout. This design also allows inmates to be separated based on offense, gender, age, health needs, etc. to meet State of Iowa Jail Standards classification. A medical suite lets staff work from a centralized area and take necessary services to each housing unit.


The Clinton County Justice Center was designed and built to efficiently meet the long-term justice and public safety needs of the county. Security is improved with the new lobby and secure corridor that connects the jail to the courthouse while limiting movement of offenders. The entire facility was planned with future growth in mind; an open-shell portion adjacent to booking provides future capacity for housing.

Clinton County taxpayers will save money with this replacement facility through reduced maintenance costs and less money required for out-of-county inmate housing. 
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