AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Every Day. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.

Iowa State Penitentiary is Understaffed, Dangerous Place for Workers

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the dangerous conditions at the Iowa State Penitentiary (ISP) in Fort Madison:

“The working conditions at ISP are an outrage. The men and women protecting our inmates are, in their own words, walking into ISP not knowing if they will walk out at the end of the day. They are truly, and reasonably, afraid for their safety. Recently, a series of fights involving approximately 16 inmates and makeshift weapons led to a lockdown without the staff necessary to ensure both inmate and officer safety. Staffing levels are so critically low that there are not enough bodies to respond to medical or behavioral emergencies. On multiple occasions in the past two weeks, at least 15 officers from Oakdale and Mount Pleasant have reported to ISP to assist with shakedowns – a clear indication that ISP is desperately in need of more support.

“We have to do better for our public safety workers. We can’t sit by and let them walk into preventable danger day after day. Governor Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds, the Iowa Legislature, and the Iowa Department of Corrections need to take a close look at recent trends at ISP and allocate the staff funding to run a safe and secure facility.”

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