Tag Archives: Iowa

IA: Union: System in crisis, prison understaffed

From the article: “Dozens of union members picketed Friday outside the Iowa Medical and Classification Center, protesting what they say are dangerously low staffing levels and calling for the resignation of the state’s corrections director.”

Read more here.

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IA: Inmate commits suicide in mental health care unit

From the article: “The unit officer discovered Mabe hanging with bed sheet around his neck and tied to a wall vent. An emergency was announced and health services staff and additional security staff responded immediately. The sheet was detached and emergency protocols, including CPR, were used.”

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IA: Dept. of Corrections, union at odds over prison security breach

From the article: “In a release issued Thursday, Scaletta said the “restricted movement” status was necessary because a “line staff member” brought contraband into the unit. “Dedicated and professional correctional staff, at all levels, have been shaking down the prison to account for the inappropriate items that have been brought into the prison,” Scaletta said in a written statement Thursday. “An investigation into this matter is currently being conducted. The employee is on administrative leave.'”

Unfortunately, it does not say what the “inappropriate items” actually were.

Read the article here.

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Lawmakers decry Iowa mental health prison closure

From the article: “The lawmakers who sent the letter expressed concern that prisoners with mental health needs don’t acclimate well to change and by mixing them with the general inmate population it could stimulate behaviors that create an unsafe the working environment for corrections staff.”

There are always tough calls in budget season and it seems as though mental health services generally takes a huge cut.

A spokesman in the Governor’s office is quoted as saying that the new plan:

“more effectively utilizes the department’s resources” and inmates with mental health needs “will receive similar, if not greater, mental health care under this new plan.”

In Ohio, it seems as though there’s a new mental health grand reorganization plan every couple of years, with each one promising greater efficiency and services, but when you step back, it looks like less and less.  I think the problem is that the mentally ill inmate population often don’t know how to advocate for themselves – medical care is an easy, generally identifiable and fixable problem, but mental health care is unseen.  Inmates with mental health issues can remain untreated as long as they are docile, quietly decompensating, and the more disruptive mentally ill are treated as high security risks and locked down.  I hope someone’s watching to see whether the state really does offer “similar, if not greater” mental health care.
Read more here.
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Iowa revises pregnant inmate restraint policy

From the article: “The Department of Corrections’ old policy allowed restraints to be used until inmates were admitted to a hospital for delivery. They were shackled as soon as 24 hours after giving birth.  The new policy prohibits inmates who have been pregnant for at least 22 weeks from being restrained unless they pose an immediate risk. Prisoners will remain unrestrained after giving birth until they are released from the hospital.”

Read more here.

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More paroles help shrink Iowa prison population

From the article: “A 5 percent decline in the state’s prison population between 2011 and 2012 — the largest drop within a year — is the result of a 40 percent increase in paroles, according to prison officials.”

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67 escapes: 5.7 percent of inmates flee Iowa DOC’s Davenport halfway houses

The headline is self-explanatory.  On the plus side, most are found within a week.  Read the article here.

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Iowa prison chief seeks budget hike, AFSCME leader says it’s not enough

“State officials have proposed a budget to hire more workers for Iowa’s prisons and community corrections programs, but a union leader says it still leaves dangerous offenders without enough supervision.

Iowa Corrections Director John Baldwin presented the spending plan on Friday to the Iowa Board of Corrections for the 2014 and 2015 budget years. The proposal would raise corrections spending over the two-year period from $367 million annually now to as much as $415 million.”

Read more here.

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Assaults on prison workers fuel staffing complaints

“Assaults by inmates at the Fort Madison and Fort Dodge state prisons this week have left three prison workers injured and prompted new union complaints that Gov. Terry Branstad refuses to adequately staff prisons.”

Read more: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120726/NEWS/307260048/-1/GETPUBLISHED03scripts/Assaults-prison-workers-fuel-staffing-complaints?nclick_check=1

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Prison worker fired after video shows him kicking inmate

“The video captured the kick, and that led to a state corrections worker being fired.

Iowa State Penitentiary worker Michael A. Scott took an inmate to his cell, backed up a step, then kicked the prisoner, a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The force of the blow propelled the inmate into his cell.”

Read more: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120718/NEWS01/307180032/1029/BUSINESS/?odyssey=nav|head

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