Possible Attempted Escape at Iowa State Penitentiary

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By Ben Hoppenworth

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - Officials have placed the Iowa State Penitentiary and Clinical Care Unit in Fort Madison under restricted movement following the discovery of suspicious items.

The Department of Corrections says officials found a 17-foot rope and a bottle with an unknown substance Monday during a routine search of an upper cell house. They later discovered a 10-foot rope and another unknown substance.

The restriction means people at the penitentiary will be mostly limited to their cells, including for meals.

The ropes were fashioned with braided sheets, and other items included blankets, gloves and sand paper. Prison spokesman Fred Scaletta says the materials indicate there may have been plans for an attempt to escape from the penitentiary, but nothing has been reported.

Scaletta says it's unclear when the restriction will be lifted.

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