Former ISP officer tapped as new warden







FORT MADISON – State officials with the Iowa Department of Corrections announced today that a new warden has been appointed to the Iowa State Penitentiary.

Patti Wachtendorf has been appointed Warden of the ISP, according to a release today from the DOC. Warden Wachtendorf is currently the Warden of the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. The appointment was necessary in order to fill the vacancy created when Nick Ludwick retires.

According to Executive Officer Rebecca Bowker, Wachtendorf will take over operations officially on Feb. 1, as Ludwick’s last official day will be at the end of the month.


Wachtendorf, who will be the first female warden at ISP, has been the Warden at ICIW since 2009.  She guided ICIW thru a major expansion and new construction at the only female prison in Iowa.

Wachtendorf began her career with the Department of Corrections in 1983 at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison. She was a Correctional Officer, Investigator, Senior Correctional Officer, Correctional Counselor and Treatment Services Director. She left Fort Madison in December 1997 when she was appointed as Treatment Services Director at the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility. In January 2001, she became the Security Director at ICIW and then Deputy Warden in July of 2006.

“I am very excited to return to Fort Madison where I started my career.  Two of my children and five of my grandchildren live in Southeast Iowa so I will be able to spend more time with family.” Wachtendorf said in a statement released today.

Warden Ludwick is retiring after an eventful six and a half years at the Iowa State Penitentiary.  Mr. Ludwick enjoyed a 35-year career with the Michigan Department of Corrections prior to accepting his position in Fort Madison.  His departure is due to the medical advice of his health care team at the Mayo Clinic who have been treating him for melanoma for twelve years; the last five and a half years with stage four cancer.

“Although I’m leaving prematurely to spend time with my beautiful wife and family, I leave with immense pride for all our team at ISP has accomplished during my tenure as their Warden,” Ludwick said in a statement today. “I accepted this job for the challenge of closing the oldest operating facility west of the Mississippi and transitioning staff and offenders for the move to our new institution.  We’ve developed a culture of respect, teamwork and open communication with staff and the men we supervise.  I would have selected my friend and peer Warden Wachtendorf as my replacement and am elated that she accepted the reappointment to Fort Madison. I’ll be forever thankful for my time serving the state of Iowa and the opportunity to say that I worked alongside the proud staff at The Fort.”



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