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Jail History

The First Jail – 1845

The first Jail in Wapello County history dates back to 1845 according to the “History of Wapello County” (1914) and was a “primitive log structure, one story in height” and the front door “was of heavy oak timber, thickly studded with spikes.”  This Jail was located immediately east of the old YWCA on 3rd St.

The Second Jail – 1857

By 1857 a newer jail was necessary and a two-story brick structure was built for the sum of $9000.00 and located at 215 N. Court St. this jail served the citizens of Wapello County for nearly 54 years.

The Third Jail – 1911

In 1911 in the same location at 215 N. Court St. a newer jail was again necessary and according to the 1914 history “is one of the finest and most substantial county prisons in the State of Iowa.”  This Jail built for the sum of $46,000.00 was made of steel and stone and served the citizenry for 89 years. The building is now used for the Board of Supervisor’s offices.

The Current Jail – 2000

In late 2000 the Wapello County Jail moved into it’s new home at 330 W. 2nd St. The Jail comprises a large portion of the Wapello County Law Enforcement Center which the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office and Jail share with the Ottumwa Police Department.  The current jail is a nearly 63,000 square feet direct supervision facility that will also serve the citizens proudly for many years to come.