An inmate in the state’s maximum security prison apparently assaulted a prison visitor this past weekend. Just before noon on Christmas eve, staff at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison were told “noises” were coming from the restroom for women visitors to the prison.
Authorities say they found inmate Bobby Morris inside the restroom and his female visitor lying face-down on the floor. She was taken to the hospital in Fort Madison and released later that day.
Morris is serving a life term in prison, which means he will spend the rest of his life in prison. Morris has been behind bars for over eight years. He’s currently in “segregation” — away from the other prisoners, and probably will face criminal charges.
A senator from Fort Madison says the weekend assault at the state’s maximum security prison in his city had nothing to do with the prison’s age. Senator Gene Fraise, a Democrat from Fort Madison, says it was a staffing issue.
“Every time anything happens in the Fort Madison prison of late it’s always said: ‘Well, the old prison was built in 1830-something and we ought to replace it,'” Fraise says. “That has nothing to do with that. This same kind of thing could happen in any of the institutions. It just has to be taken care of and watched a little closer.”
Fraise says when a prisoner leaves that visitor’s area, a guard takes the prisoner in a separate area where the prisoner disrobes, is searched and then given new clothing to ensure no contraband from a visitor is smuggled back into the prison. Fraise says that means one guard who had been watching the visitor’s area is otherwise occupied.
“I’m guessing there was probably a lack of a person in there supervising the room,” Fraise says. Fraise has been briefed by prison officials and he says the inmate and the woman who was assaulted apparently had a history and the assault may have been “payback” from the inmate for something the woman did. “There’s more to it, too, but I can’t talk about it because they’ll be investigating the whole thing,” Fraise says.