Three correctional officers were sent to the hospital in the second attack on guards this week at the Anamosa State Penitentiary in eastern Iowa. Iowa Department of Corrections spokesperson Fred Scaletta says the latest incident, on Wednesday, involved inmates Mathew Crawford and Eric Peppers. Crawford was confronted by a guard when he walked into an unauthorized area and refused to stop.
Scaletta says Crawford became "very combative" and assaulted the guard, and Peppers attacked the responding officers. The two inmates were restrained and placed in "segregation status." The three correction officers were treated and released at an Anamosa hospital. Wednesday’s scuffle follows another inmate assault on a guard at the state pen on Saturday.
Scaletta calls the timing of the assaults a coincidence, "the first one happened in a very isolated area as an inmate was being searched prior to a visit…and then this one happened outside the living unit, inside the walls, so they were completely separate incidents." Scaletta says it appears there’s nothing the guards could have done to prevent the assaults, and their response was appropriate.
"There are times when, no matter how much you’re trained or how many precautions you take," Scaletta explains, "the threat of injury or staff safety is always at large." The inmates involved in Wednesday’s assaults are both serving 25 year prison terms. Crawford’s serving time for a variety of charges in Polk County, while Peppers was convicted of 2nd degree sex abuse in Johnson County.