afscme 61DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the Department of Corrections’ handling of new inmates and staffing shortages:

“We have received notice that the Clarinda Correctional Facility will be opening an additional General Population unit due to an increase of over 200 inmates in the state. This unit will be opened by precariously condensing the Special Needs units from four to three, resulting in an inability to house inmates in single cells, even if severe mental or behavioral issues are present. We are deeply concerned for both staff and inmate safety.

“The Clarinda Correctional Facility will now house nearly 1,000 inmates, all while operating at the lowest staffing numbers in the history of the facility. The Branstad-Reynolds Administration continues to push inmates through the system more quickly than is safe, including discouraging staff from reporting major behavior incidents. The notion that recidivism is down is simply misleading, given that parole violations are not factored, which have been impacted by these risky practices.

“At the core of this overcrowding and understaffing problem is funding shortages. The Department of Corrections, while being dealt a bad hand by House Republicans, is attempting to shift resources across the state too quickly, jeopardizing inmate, staff, and public safety in the process.”

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