Union leader blames underfunding for Iowa prison killings

Iowa News

Flags are flown at half staff in memory of the two prison workers killed in an escape attempt at the Anamosa State Penitentiary in Anamosa, Iowa, on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Lorena Schulte, a nurse and Robert McFarland, a correctional officer were killed by an inmate in the infirmary during an escape attempt. An inmate was also injured in the assault. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette via AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The leader of the union representing Iowa prison workers said Republican state political leaders and Iowa Department of Corrections officials are to blame for the death of two Anamosa State Prison workers two weeks ago because state prisons have been underfunded and understaffed for years.

Danny Homan, local council president of the AFSCME union says grossly inadequate staffing led to the deaths of Correctional Officer Robert McFarland and Nurse Lorena Schulte.

They died on March 23 in a hammer attack by two inmates plotting an escape.

A corrections spokesman says changes are underway to make the prison more secure.

House Speaker Pat Grassley says the proposed budget for next year provides the most funding for state corrections in a decade.

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