Governor Tom Vilsack has asked the State Ombudsman to conduct an independent investigation into two recent deaths in the state prison in Anamosa. One inmate died last week and another died last August and Vilsack wants the Ombudsman to investigate the circumstances. He says they’re two unusual cases of inmates who were having trouble and he says he wants to be sure they followed the proper procedures.Vilsack says he’s seen no evidence there’s something amiss, but he wants the matter investigated. As for last week’s escape at the Oakdale prison, Vilsack says there was an “error in judgement.” Vilsack says when the fencing around the prison was disconnected in order to construct the “special needs unit,” prison officials should have beefed up perimeter security. Vilsack says since that’s what prison oficials did immediately after the escape, that suggests to him it should have been done earlier. He says he’s satisfied that the people involved know what they should have done.Vilsack says he can’t guarantee there won’t be future escapes from the state prisons, but he says reasonable steps have been taken.
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