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Iowa Democrats push for an increase in DOC budget one month after deadly Anamosa State Penitentiary attack

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 9:34 PM CDT
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ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCRG) - One month after two inmates killed two employees as they tried to escape the Anamosa State Penitentiary, state democratic lawmakers toured the facility.

The lawmakers not only asked for an independent investigation but also an increase in funding.

State Democrats said the Department of Correction needed to hire more than 300 employees for Iowa’s prison system. Over 80 of those would work at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.

State Representative Mari Anderson said she was appalled by the number of times she saw two employees watching more than a hundred inmates. They said camera equipment was outdated. Structurally, the building doesn’t lend its self to being safe because of many tight corners.

They said the prison had made changes in the last month since the attack and death of two employees, but those changes were not part of a long-term solution to prevent this from happening again.

“We talked about some restrictions on movement to make sure that they were maintaining order in an environment where they were going to make long-term changes,” said Senator Zach Wahls. “I don’t think there was a clear sense of what those long-term changes look like just yet.”

Senator Wahls said there should be a budget increase of $34 million for the DOC. That money would be used to pay for the employees and purchase updated equipment. The state senate proposed a $6 million increase. The house proposed more than $20 million.

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