This historical article is courtesy Mahaska County Historical Society member John Jacobs.

Oskaloosa Daily Herald

Dec. 17, 1930

May house federal prisoners

Governor Inspector recommends jail for short time wards

Mahaska county jail will house a number of federal short time prisoners in the future if the recommendation of J. H. Strief, inspector of prisons from the department of justice at Washington, D.C., is looked upon favorably by the department heads. Mr. Strief inspected the local jail early this week.

Mr. Strief made a thorough survey of the jail as well as the records of Sheriff W. J. Gochee. The federal inspector paid high tribute to the sheriff and conditions at the jail when he ranked the Mahaska county jail as the best he has as yet visited.

Visits many jails

Inspector Strief has been traveling throughout the middle west visiting scores of county jails for the purpose of selecting homes for federal prisoners. According to the inspector, federal prisons are becoming overcrowded and the federal authorities have decided to board short term prisoners in county jails.

The government hopes to cut down expenses materially by this method for it will do away with the necessity of transporting short time prisoners to and from federal prisons such as the one at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Can quarter dozen or more

The inspector indicated that the would recommend to Washington officials that federal prisoners numbering 12 or more from the middle west be housed in the Mahaska county jajil when given short terms this arrangement should relieve the county of part of the jail expenses as federal authorities would pay for upkeep of all boarders turned over by them, and a larger number of prisoners could be cared for at the same cost.

In ranking the local jail at the top of the list, the inspector was especially loud in his praise of the food and the preparation. He announced that the prisoners received the most substantial food which is cooked excellently.

Impressed with cleanliness

The cleanliness and sanitation of the jail, in the way in which the inmates keep their cells and the manner in which they are clothed were also given as important reasons for the high rating.

Discipline among the prisoners is ideal, according to Inspector Strief, while the best equipment is to be found at the local jail.

Mr. Strief came to Oskaloosa from Sigourney where he inspected the Keokuk county jail and has left for Ottumwa. If his recommendation is carried through, the federal prisoners will probably be sent here about the first of next year.

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