DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the Sunday evening assault on two correctional officers by an inmate at the Clarinda Correctional Facility:
“On Sunday, August 21, 2016, two correctional officers were physically assaulted by an inmate in a special needs unit. While one of the injured officers continued to work, the other had to be driven to the hospital, leaving only three available staff to respond to any incidents at the facility.
“Two weeks prior, another incident took place involving two inmates acting erratically after smoking synthetic marijuana (K2, spice) that was brought in during visitation. Anything that doesn’t set off a metal detector can come into the facility because officers are no longer allowed to pat-search visitors. It’s up to one officer to monitor 40 inmates during visitation, so it wasn’t a big surprise that this situation occurred.
“Ultimately, Clarinda Correctional Facility, just like all of our correctional facilities in the state, is dangerously understaffed and officers’ lives are being put at risk. These recent events are further proof of that. Not only are open positions not being filled, but eight positions were eliminated entirely in July. Clarinda Correctional Facility and the Department of Corrections are trying to increase services with fewer staff, and something’s got to give. Safety has to be a priority, both for inmates and staff. These conditions are a disaster waiting to happen.”