PUSHING BACK: Verbal Fight After Guard Attacked
John Baldwin, Director of the Iowa Department of Corrections, offered his own charges Monday at Danny Homan, the president of AFSCME, the state’s largest employee union.
Saturday, Homan blamed Baldwin and Governor Terry Branstad for an inmate’s attack on a guard, citing inadequate staffing at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. In a statement, Homan said, “Staffing levels in our state prison system have reached emergency levels. Had the facility been fully staffed, there could have been more officers on that cell block, which could have prevented the attack. The level of danger faced by correctional officers and the public outside prison walls is rising. Governor Branstad and Director Baldwin need to take immediate action to hire more correctional officers. If they don’t, they will have to explain why to a prison staff member’s family when a tragedy occurs in the future,” added Homan.
Baldwin said the prison actually has fewer inmates, currently 1,092, and it has the most officers, 317, since Branstad took office. He said Homan’s false allegations could put guards at risk when inmates think they can come after them. Baldwin said, “To continually harp on this topic increases their likelihood of some issues.”
When Channel 13 news asked whether the prison’s staffing was sufficient, Baldwin replied, “No one can answer that question simply because, what is that magic number? You’re dealing with 1,085 people. What is that magic number? They are staffed with the budget we have.”
Baldwin’s department said the injured guard sought medical treatment at a hospital Friday and was released.