The head of the state’s largest public employees’ union is repeating a call for Governor Branstad to hire more correctional workers following two more cases of prison officials being injured by inmates this week. AFSCME Council 61 president Danny Homan released a statement about the incidents which echoed remarks he made on July 16 in a phone interview with Radio Iowa.
“They’re playing Russian roulette with the lives of correctional staff inside all of our institutions and it’s time they quit playing games with that,” Homan said. His comments earlier this month followed an inmate assault on a correctional officer in Anamosa.
Iowa Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin joined Governor Branstad at a press conference following that weekend attack. He suggested Homan’s statements are only making the prisons more dangerous.
“The staff at corrections do a sensational job…and I think to continually harp on this topic increases their likelihood of some issues,” Baldwin said.
A Branstad aide said Wednesday that’s the union’s “reckless” statements only “embolden prisoners and put correctional officers at risk.” Corrections officials confirm two officers were attacked by an inmate Wednesday morning at the Iowa State Penitentiary at Fort Madison, and another correctional officer was hurt Tuesday at Fort Dodge.
All of the officers were treated for minor injuries.