The Tama County Jail is located in Iowa and takes in new arrests and detainees are who are delivered daily - call 641-484-3760 for the current roster. Law enforcement and police book offenders from Tama County and nearby cities and towns. Some offenders may stay less than one day or only for a few days until they are released in a court proceeding, some after putting up a bond and then are released to a pretrial services caseload under supervision by the court, or are released on their own recognizance with an agreement to appear in court.
The jail is divided into "pods," each of which includes individual cells, common areas, and an outside recreation court — a space bound by towering concrete walls. All meals, are approved by a dietitian. Common area tables are made of solid steel with attached four seats. Inmates crowd around the tables playing cards or board games like chess and checkers. Inside the cells, there is only a sliver of a window allows inmates to peer out. There are two to three inmates per cell, The jail is crowded at about 90 percent capacity and this population varies day-to-day sometimes over-crowded. There are a number of people who arrive at the jail actively or recently drunk or high, or arrive with injuries from fights/assaults that led to their arrest, and/or are mentally ill with no other place for law enforcement to deliver them. This makes the intake process challenging for the jail’s staff and its medical personnel.
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Tama County Jail is run by the county sheriff’s department and the prison is run by the state department of corrections. Jail is for inmates who are awaiting time or who have been sentenced to less than a year. Prison is only available for people who have been sentenced to more than a year on any one charge.
Neither prison nor jail is nice but they differ in their levels of security, the programs they have and the quality of the environment. Additionally, an inmate cannot ask for a motion to reconsider once they have been transferred to the custody of the department of corrections.
The Sheriff’s department calculates what percentage of your jail time that you actually have to serve. The law requires that the sheriff’s department make people serve a minimum of 50% of their sentence if they are convicted of a misdemeanor.
The jail will accept inmates from the US Marshal and ICE where space is necessary. In comparison, state prison is for inmates serving lengthier sentences on crimes that are more severe in nature.
The Tama Sheriff’s Department calculates what percentage of a felony jail sentence a person will serve. The law requires that an inmate serve at least 85% of their felony jail sentence for non-mandatory time and 100% of their mandatory time.
Tama County Jail also offers and manages alternatives to jail such as work release programs, work furlough, house arrest, and private county jails where the person convicted can serve their sentences on weekends. Because overcrowding is a problem in both county jail and state prison, both systems operate a good behavior program. Those who are on good behavior can have their sentences reduced or cut.
If you are not serving a mandatory minimum sentence and you do not get into trouble while in jail the sheriff’s department will typically give automatic good behavior time. When you first receive your release date from the jail, within a few days of being incarcerated, the good time deduction will have already been included in most cases. For non-mandatory misdemeanor good time off is 50% and for felonies is typically about 10-15%.