July 3, 2013
By AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan
Des Moines, Iowa – “Staff at the Iowa State Penitentiary have discovered suspicious items including hand-crafted ropes. The Iowa Department of Corrections has acknowledged that these items may indicate that some inmates were planning to escape. This is yet another symptom of the woeful understaffing of Department of Corrections’ facilities, including the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.
Iowa’s correctional staff do excellent work; however, there are simply too few of them. When staffing is this low, there are less eyes and ears on inmates and regular staff duties are completed less frequently. Inmates are clearly aware of low staffing levels and it is not surprising that some of them are choosing to take advantage of weakened security that puts inmates, staff, and the public at risk.
Governor Branstad and Director Baldwin need to end their ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ approach to correctional security and acknowledge there is a major staffing problem in the State of Iowa’s correctional institutions.”