Consultants reviewing security issues in Iowa prisons say the system is overcrowded and understaffed.
State officials hired a consulting firm to conduct the review after two employees at the Anamosa State Penitentiary were murdered by two inmates trying to escape last March. The consultants say some progress has been made. A new warden has been installed at the Anamosa prison and a security director has been hired to oversee all state prisons, but that progress is “hampered” by workforce issues according to the consultants. Their report says state prison employees have to work long hours of overtime to make up for staffing shortages. The report recommends retention bonuses for most staff and raising full-time pay for nurses.
The consultants did not make recommendations on how to address overcrowding, but the consultants did note the state’s prison system is housing 16% more inmates that it’s designed to hold.
The Iowa Department of Corrections released an executive summary of the record. Two inmates were sentenced this fall for the murders of Lorena Schulte, a nurse in the Anamosa prison, and correctional officer Robert McFarland.