Days after fatal attacks at Anamosa, other Iowa prisons report violence among inmates

Published: Apr. 3, 2021 at 8:42 PM CDT
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ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCCI) - Ten days after two workers were brutally killed at the Anamosa State Penitentiary, there have been three other recent attacks on Iowa correctional officers, according to KCCI.

AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan said the assaults were not as brutal but said he still worries about copycat incidents after corrections officer Robert McFarland and nurse Lorena Schulte were beaten to death at Anamosa.

“I believe Anamosa should have went on our hard lockdown,” Homan said. “Which in other words, inmates don’t move, period. If they go anywhere they’re escorted by correctional officers, and the whole institution should have been shut down.”

Homan said just within an eight-day period after the Anamosa attacks several other incidents occurred at the Newton Correctional Facility.

On March 23rd, the same day as Anamosa, an inmate sprayed bleach on a correctional officer.

On March 24th, at the same institution, a unit had to be locked down after an inmate incited others when confronted for not wearing a mask.

On March 26th in Newton, a physical attack occurred when an inmate punched an officer.

Then, on March 31st, an officer had to be treated at a hospital for an injury after an altercation at the Clarinda Correctional Facility.

Homan sent a letter to Iowa State Minority Leader Zach Wahls, D-Coralville, citing inadequate staffing. The letter said in part, “There are 234 vacant positions within the Department of Corrections- including 14 vacant correctional officer positions at Anamosa ... Violence in the workplace has become commonplace in Iowa state institutions.”

“None of them are as brutal as what was done at Anamosa,” Homan said. “But the bottom line is it’s that inmates still feel they can attack staff and receive little to no consequences.”

Homan is asking lawmakers for more funding for staff. He plans to hold a news conference Tuesday at the Statehouse to layout his requests to keep prisons safer.

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