House Republicans Propose $20 Million Funding Increase for State Prisons

House Republicans are proposing a $20 million increase in the budget for the Iowa Department of Corrections.

The president of the union that represents prison employees says it’s not enough to ensure staffing levels inside the state’s prison system are adequate. Representative Gary Worthan of Storm Lake leads the subcommittee that developed the House G-O-P plan.

Republicans are not directly citing last month’s escape attempt and murders of two staff members at the Anamosa State Penitentiary as the reason for the proposed spending increase. Worthan says it’s the culmination of a decade of examination of the budget for the Department of Corrections and other agencies in the justice system, like the Department of Public Safety.

AFSCME Council 61 president Danny Homan says the extra money merely covers negotiated salary increases over the past couple of years and doesn’t fill nearly 250 vacant positions in the prison system.

Homan is calling for re-opening a training program for prison staff and for an independent investigation of the murders at Anamosa.

Homan says hundreds of new correctional officers are needed to provide security at the state’s nine prisons – that includes at least 34 new correctional officers and nurses who he says need to be hired immediately at Anamosa.

Homan is asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate the safety situation inside the Anamosa prison. The union leader is also calling for the warden at the Anamosa State Penitentiary to be fired.

 

story courtesy of Radio Iowa

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