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Cerro Gordo County Jail

17262 Lark Ave
Mason City, IA 50401-8940
(641) 421-3004

Interview with Todd

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
Todd: 5 yrs

JM: Did you spend time in a holding cell after your sentencing? If so, what was that like? If you didn't where did they they take you instead?
Todd: just waited to go to oakdale prison

Life on the Inside
The Cerro Gordo County Jail is located just east of the Mason City Airport, off route 18. The layout for the jail is a combination of 18 person open dorms and 6 men cells situated throughout 3 cell blocks. Interviews with former inmates found that the preferred accommodation was the larger 18 person space which affords inmates the ability to walk around a bit.

Passing the Time in Cerro Gordo County Jail
During their off hours from work programs or classes, inmates have access to a ping pong table and some donated books. The inmates aren't taken outside at all and as a result it's very hard to stay in shape. Church services are held occasionally in the same room as ping pong.

As you might expect from jail food, the meals weren't given high marks. However, the pasta or rice dishes were preferred if for no other reason than you got more. There is a commissary available for inmates to purchases extra snacks provided there is money in their accounts. This money has to be deposited from the outside.

Good Behavior Policy
The good behavior policy for the Cerro Gordo County jail is a maximum of eight days off for every month served. This would only apply to inmates who are serving time for a non-violent offense. If an inmate gets into trouble with fights, contraband or running afoul of the guards then that good time is wiped out and they are back to square one.

Visitor and Phone Policy
Phones are made available during the day for inmates to place collect calls. According to former inmates these charges are "very high." As for the visitation policy, an inmate is allowed to put up to four visitors on their approved list every month. A visit lasts for 15 minutes and even if one is scheduled is can be taken away if the inmate has gotten into hot water with the guards.

Visitors must bring a proper photo ID and the sessions are on a first come, first serve basis. This means getting to the jail early and waiting in line. Obviously, there is no guarantee that you will be able to see the inmate in the allotted time.

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