The Iowa Board of Corrections today approved the appointments of two new prison wardens.
Corrections Director John Baldwin also appointed three people to key administrative positions. John Fayram is the new warden of the Anamosa State Penitentiary.
Fayram grew up in the Jones County town and has spent 20 of his 30 years with the Department of Corrections in Anamosa. He’ll take over a stone fortress facility that was built in the late 1880’s and houses more than 1,200 inmates.
"Because of our age, we don’t have all of the technology that some of the institutions have, so I think (the Board of Corrections) is interested in bring Anamosa along in terms of modernization," Fayram said.
Any changes in Anamosa, however, would follow plans already in place for a new maximum security prison in Fort Madison and improvements to the women’s prison in Mitchellville. Dan Craig is the new warden at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale. The 25-year veteran of the Iowa prisons system will be in charge of a facility where new inmates are processed.
Craig says he doesn’t plan to make any major changes and will work to improve Iowa’s recidivism rate. Craig most recently served as the Western Region Deputy Director. Baldwin has appointed Diann Wilder-Tomlinson to fill that position in an "acting" role. She’s currently the warden at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. Baldwin has also named former Anamosa prison warden Jerry Burt as the new Eastern Region Deputy Director.
Burt says he’ll focus on improving offender re-entry into the community. "Ninety-three or 94-percent of all the folks that we work with in corrections, go back home. They get back into the community," Burt said. "Both in the institutions and community corrections, it’s our job to provide the services, programming and role models that those folks need to grow, so when they go back into the community they’re better prepared to live their life successfully there."
Around 35% of the people released from Iowa’s prisons end up back in prison. Burt says that’s better than most other states. "The biggest reason for that is the quality of staff we have working in the department," Burt said. All of the changes follow the recent deaths of Lowell Brandt, who had been Oakdale’s prison warden, and Larry Brimeyer, who was in charge of eastern Iowa operations. Both men died suddenly of heart attacks.
In addition, Jeanette Bucklew, who has been responsible for offender services, is retiring. Jerry Bartruff has been appointed the acting deputy director for offenders.