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Union calls for more staff after inmates test positive for meth at Coralville prison

(KCRG)
Published: Oct. 21, 2016 at 3:20 PM CDT
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Staffing levels at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center are at "atrocious" levels, according to Danny Homan, President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61.

Homan says the lack of correctional officers at the facility is what led to a recent incident where four inmates tested positive for methamphetamine.

"This stuff is getting in, we're not checking people as they are coming into the facility, I don't believe that inmates are being shook down in the manner that they should be coming and going from the visiting room," Homan said.

Homan said the prison has also shut down unit control centers because they don't have people to staff them.

"The eyes and ears of the units are gone," he said.

According to numbers provided by Homan, the prison had 583 total employees in 2009. That number dropped to 525 in 2015, Homan said. The numbers include every employee, not just correctional officers.

Deputy Warden Greg Ort said the prison is working to fill all the positions that are budgeted for.

"This institution has shown a decrease in critical incidents," Ort said.

Ort said they "have to" be comfortable with current levels.

The budget is set by the Governor and lawmakers in Des Moines.

"Currently at IMCC there are a total of 235 funded Correctional Officer positions. 222 are filled and 13 are vacant. There are 10 Senior Correctional Officer positions. 9 are filled and 1 is vacant. All vacant positions are in the process of being hired," Iowa Department of Corrections Assistant Director Fred Scaletta said via email Friday.