Dallas County seeing high volume of custom license plate orders as production slows in Iowa prisons

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ADEL, Iowa — The Dallas County Treasurer’s Office is currently experiencing a huge increase in orders for customized license plates at a time when production has slowed down. 

The Department of Transportation has a contract with Iowa Prison Industries where inmates make specialized license plates. 

However, inmates have not been allowed to do much labor since two prison staff members were murdered in March, allegedly at the hands of prisoners who used tools they obtained from a work program.

“So prison staff are actually taking those responsibilities over to produce those. So there’s a little bit more delay than what we might normally have, more sporadic sending of those plates to the counties and I think that’s probably been an impact on us,” Dallas County Treasurer, Mitch Hambleton said. 

When the customized license plates make it to Dallas County, residents must book an appointment to pick them up. 

Hambleton said they are currently taking 84 clients a day and appointments fill up extremely fast. 

However, Hambleton said this new system has still worked better for his office. 

“People used to come into the courthouse and line up and they may be waiting for two hours to see an individual,” Hambleton said.  “But they can make an appointment, come into our office and be in and out in 20 minutes. Much better than waiting two hours if you can get in that day.”

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