Prison Overview/History

In 1967, the State Legislature authorized the creation of the Iowa Security and Medical Facility at Oakdale. A modern psychiatric hospital for the evaluation and treatment of both men and women was built on a 54.4 acre site near Iowa City. When completed in 1969, the building consisted of three patient units totaling 81 beds. At the time of its completion, IMCC was considered to be in part of the country-side, away from the major populations of the cities of Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty. Today it is surrounded by the major metropolitan areas of those three cities. Condos, restaurants and malls are now where our escape posts used to be located.

In 1984, the facility’s capacity was increased to 300 beds by the construction of a reception/classification center and the institution officially became known as “The Iowa Medical and Classification Center.” The facility provided services both to the DOC offender population and to the psychiatric hospital units.

In 1990 and 1991, the facility’s capacity was again increased with the construction of four dormitory units, two for reception and two for general population.

Renovations to one of the old hospital units renewed 23 beds for a separate special needs unit in September of 2005, bringing the total capacity to 528 beds.

We began to renovate our dietary in March 2006 and this was completed in the fall of 2007. This renovation enabled us to deliver trays directly to the units instead of having offenders come to the dining hall.

In July 2007 we opened our Special Needs Unit, which has since been dedicated as the Lowell D. Brandt Unit, which added another 178 beds for a total of 706. The planning for this unit began in 1998. The building contains an outpatient health clinic and offices, three medical housing units and four celled behavioral units. The celled behavioral unit includes a therapeutic community unit, a secured observation unit and two larger units for offenders with mental health diagnosis.


In total, IMCC has 22 housing units which have multiple specific functions. In addition, the facility has a warehouse which holds the recycling program and large equipment. The Power Plant, which houses the Pharmacy, the DOC File Repository, loading dock, maintenance shops and power generators, is attached to the main building by way of a tunnel. Attached to the main building is the administration building which holds the Warden’s office area, the Business Office, IT and Human Resources offices in addition to the Training Room and CERT Training Room.