A benefit was held on Saturday in Fort Madison for the correctional officer who was attacked at the Iowa State Penitentiary on October 18.
Hundreds gathered at the Latin American Club to give moral and financial support to Jesse Burgher. The benefit included approximately 300 silent and live auction items and a chicken fry dinner.
The officer was stabbed five times by an inmate who had two, 10-inch shanks. He has not been able to return to work since the violent incident occurred three months ago. Asked what he thinks will create a safer environment for prison and jail employees, he had one answer that is at the center of many discussions: staffing.
“They know,” Burgher said. “The administration knows that they are short-staffed, but their answer is always: ‘There’s nothing we can do about it. It comes from Des Moines.'”
Burgher added a second concern.
“At the new place, there are a lot of things that don’t work like they’re supposed to work,” he said. “Like radios. That’s the big thing. Radios don’t work sometimes; sometimes they do.”
Burgher has worked at the penitentiary for 20 years, but is unsure if he can return.
(Reporting by Meghan D’Souza, KBUR, Burlington)