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RELEASE: Correctional Officer Stabbed Five Times by White Supremacist at Iowa State Penitentiary

DES MOINES – AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the stabbing of a Correctional Officer at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison:
 

 

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DES MOINES – AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement in response to Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix’s comments on sexual harassment in state government: Read more >>>

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
August 24, 2017
Contact:
Mazie Stilwell, Communications Specialist
mstilwell@afscmeiowa.org

LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN CUTS ENDANGER OLDER IOWANS

DES MOINES – AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement in response to budget cuts eliminating in-state travel for Long-Term Care Ombudsmen:

 

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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
August 3, 2017


Contact:
Mazie Stilwell, Communications Specialist
(515) 246-2637, mstilwell@afscmeiowa.org


CCF K2 USE SPIKES, GOES UNADDRESSED
Homan: “It is clear through recent events that Governor Reynolds has no grasp on the state’s correctional facilities and the very serious issues they face.”

 

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PRESS RELEASE
July 29, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Mazie Stilwell, Communications Specialist
(515) 246-2637
mstilwell@afscmeiowa.org

AFSCME COUNCIL 61 PRESIDENT DANNY HOMAN RE-ELECTED

 

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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
July 5, 2017

ISP RIOT WAS DOWNPLAYED BY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

DES MOINES – AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding Saturday’s violent uprising at the Iowa State Penitentiary:

 

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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
June 30, 2017

THE END OF AN ERA FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

DES MOINES – AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the expiration of the State of Iowa employee contract and other city, county, and school contracts:

 

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DES MOINES – AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement in response to Governor Branstad’s signing of a proclamation designating Correctional Officers & Employees Week: Read more >>>

ISP DRUG INFILTRATION ALLOWED WITHOUT LOCKDOWN

DES MOINES – AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement in response to a rising drug problem at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison:

 

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Statement on Shooting of Two Police Officers

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement in regard to the early morning shooting of two police officers:

"We are completely devastated for the families and colleagues of the Urbandale police officer and the Des Moines police officer killed early this morning. No words can accurately reflect the horrific nature of this cowardly ambush attack.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Urbandale Police Department, the Des Moines Police Department, and all of the men and women who put their lives on the line for our safety each and every day.”

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DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement in response to Governor Branstad’s press conference remarks on prison staffing: Read more >>>

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding inmates with contraband and positive drug tests at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville: Read more >>>

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding recent staff injuries at the Independence Mental Health Institute: Read more >>>

BUDGET CUTS PROMPT SAFETY COMPROMISE AT IOWA MEDICAL & CLASSIFICATION CENTER Read more >>>

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the layoff of nine IT employees at the Iowa Veterans Home (IVH): Read more >>>

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the Friday evening assault on two correctional officers, among other incidents, at the Clarinda Correctional Facility: Read more >>>

Rapist shouldn't go to state institution, union says

Des Moines Register | By Tony Leys, 8/25/2016

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DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding a judge court-ordering a predatory inmate to Woodward Resource Center: Read more >>>

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the Sunday evening assault on two correctional officers by an inmate at the Clarinda Correctional Facility: Read more >>>

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the dangerous conditions at the Iowa State Penitentiary (ISP) in Fort Madison: Read more >>>

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding Iowa Department of Corrections nurse Jesse Vroegh:  Read more >>>

DOT CLOSURES DEAL A BLOW TO RURAL IOWA

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the announced closure of eight Iowa Department of Transportation facilities:

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CLARINDA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY RESTRUCTURING ENDANGERS SPECIAL NEEDS INMATES, STAFF Read more >>>

  STAFFING CHANGES AT CLARINDA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY ENDANGERS INMATES, STAFF, AND THE PUBLIC

The thoughts of AFSCME Local 451 members could be summed up in one word: “Enough.” After a fight in the dining room at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women (ICIW) resulted in injuries to four staff, two of whom had to seek medical treatment outside the facility, and the escape of two inmates from the Correctional Release Center at Newton Correctional Facility, they knew it was essential to raise public awareness of the challenges they face every day at work.

“We have been worried about staffing issues for a long time. After the fight in the dining hall, members came together to support everyone who was hurt. We knew that we had to make sure the public knew about our concerns about safety,” said Lisa Anderson, a Correctional Officer at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women and Local 451 member.

After discussions with council staff, a petition was created to call on the Iowa Department of Corrections to issue pepper spray to ICIW staff and to address critically low staffing in correctional facilities and community based corrections. Local 451 members recruited members, friends, and family to attend a Rally for Staff Safety outside the Department of Corrections Central Office.

At the rally, President Homan was able to announce that the Department of Corrections had reversed its position and will allow ICIW and North Central Correctional Facility staff to carry pepper spray like staff at all other DOC institutions. However, staffing remains critically low, which endangers staff, inmates, and the public. At the rally, President Homan said “no state facility should be understaffed. We need to provide the appropriate staff so that these hard working folks that are here behind me can go do their job in a safe environment.” He noted that massive declines in staffing had affected every DOC institution: for instance, Iowa State Penitentiary had 570 staff at the end of FY 2003, but only 394 staff at the end of FY 2015 (the last completed fiscal year).

“Lack of staffing is something that our members at Newton and Mitchellville have been facing every day. Staffing keeps getting less and less. I’m proud of everyone who took part in the rally - we are all in this together,” said Nate Ross, a Newton Correctional Facility Correctional Officer and Local 451 President.

President Homan also noted that staffing is a major challenge throughout government. He told how a known sexual predator was transferred to Independence Mental Health Institute. Due to a shortage of staff, a Resident Treatment Worker had to bathe this patient alone and was sexually assaulted by the patient.

At the conclusion of the rally, the petition with 601 signatures was delivered to Deputy Corrections Director Dan Craig.

March 10, 2016

DES MOINES –AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following response to a statement (see this Radio Iowa story) issued by the Governor’s Office yesterday:

“The Branstad-Reynolds Administration is trying to paper over a simple fact: staffing at the Department of Corrections and Community Based Corrections is critically low. Here are the facts:

1) The Governor should be ashamed of himself for trying to turn the safety of employees into a Republican versus Democrat issue in the first sentence of his office’s comments. He’s trying to ignore a life and death issue by attacking my party affiliation instead. Neither I nor anyone involved with the rally ever said anything about political parties in connection with it. The workers at yesterday’s rally have a wide variety of political views. They do not care about the party affiliation of the Governor or I. They care about their safety on the job.

2) The rally yesterday was requested and organized by the workers themselves. Here’s one of the reasons why they are so concerned: The number of payroll warrants issued by the Department of Corrections in the last pay period of FY 15 was 2,609. A year prior, it was 2,713. That’s a decline of 104 staff from FY 14 to FY 15. During the same period of time, the prison population increased from 8,174 to 8,233.

3) Terry Branstad was Governor at the end of FY 98. At that time, the DOC issued 2,736 payroll warrants, which is 127 higher than FY 15. The prison population then was 7,431, which was 802 lower than FY 15. If he felt that was an appropriate staffing level then, why doesn’t he think it should be at least at that level today?

4) Terry Branstad is the Governor now. Lt. Governor Reynolds is the Lt. Governor now. They can try blame others – their predecessors, the workers, our Union. But the fact is the buck stops with them. And the recent fight at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Woman and the escapes from the Correction Release Center at Newton Correctional Facility show that their policies are failing.”

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February 29, 2016

DES MOINES –AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the escape of two inmates from the Correctional Release Center at Newton Correctional Facility:

“The escape of these two inmates from the Correctional Release Center at Newton Correctional Facility on Saturday demonstrates the consequences of critically low staffing levels in Iowa’s correctional system. The staffing levels have been going down and this trend needs to stop.

“We must emphasize that the inmates at the Correctional Release Center at Newton Correctional Facility are not permitted to leave the grounds on their own at any time. If they work off site, they are to be picked up and supervised by their employer’s trained staff. Inmates at this facility should be supervised by DOC or their employer at all times. The escape of these two individuals is a serious matter.

“Five years ago the Department of Corrections discontinued running an around the clock perimeter vehicle patrol around the Correctional Release Center at Newton Correctional Facility due to low staffing levels. After this escape on Saturday, the perimeter was finally reinstituted on Sunday.

“Over the past several years, staffing at the Correctional Release Center has been reduced and we believe there may be plans to further reduce staffing levels.

“Additionally, the broken inmate classification system, which the DOC changed a few years back, is pushing inmates from higher security settings to lower security settings before they are ready. The pattern of misclassification of inmates in a hurried attempt to get them out of prison is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

“Due to the failure of the DOC to staff DOC Institutions and Community Based Corrections facilities adequately, the citizens of the Newton area and the State of Iowa now have to worry about two convicted felons being on the loose somewhere in Iowa. Does anyone remember the Clarinda Correctional Facility escape in 2013?”

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February 26, 2016

News outlets have been covering the fight that led to staff injuries at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. Please read these stories and share them so that we can raise further awareness of these important issues:

WHO-TV: "Four Correctional Officers Injured in Women’s Prison Fight"
KCCI-TV: "Women's prison fight raises safety concerns for staff"
Radio Iowa:"Four guards injured by prisoner in Mitchellville"
Gazette/Lee News: "Prison Safety" [story at the bottom of the "Capitol Digest"]

February 25, 2016

DES MOINES –AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the security situation at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville:

“On Tuesday, an inmate attacked a member of the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women (ICIW) staff in the dining hall. A fight then broke out in the dining hall that involved multiple inmates and staff. The fight resulted in four staff members sustaining injuries. At least two of those four injured staff were taken outside the facility for medical treatment. One of those staff members received serious injuries to their face.

“From February 2015 to today there have been sixteen inmate assaults on ICIW staff. Six of those assaults resulted in serious injury to ICIW staff. Some of these injured staff were unable to continue working in corrections while others have been unable to return to full duty.

“Warden Patti Wachtendorf has consistently refused to give staff the tools they need to do their job in the safest manner possible. Unlike staff at almost every other state prison, Iowa Correctional Institution for Women staff are not issued pepper spray to carry on their person while working. Staff are expected to always use brute force when an inmate becomes violent. This is less safe for everyone – both staff and inmates.

“Warden Wachtendorf’s poor leadership is compounded by the lack of staff. The number of inmates at ICIW has been increasing while the number of staff has been decreasing. This has created a situation that compromises the safety of inmates and staff.

“Warden Wachtendorf needs to start taking safety seriously.”

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February 11, 2016

DES MOINES –AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the Iowa Senate vote on Senate File 2125, which would halt the Branstad-Reynolds Medicaid outsourcing plan:

“Thank you to the 29 senators who stood up to vote for the bill to stop the disastrous Branstad-Reynolds Medicaid outsourcing plan. These 29 senators clearly heard and responded to the concerns of Medicaid patients, families, and providers. This vote should be a wake-up call to the Branstad-Reynolds Administration that they need to start listening to Iowans and abandon this plan that threatens the health care of over a half million Iowans.”

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