Union Wants Shutdown of Iowa Prison Admissions, Transfers as Deaths Mount

DES MOINES, Iowa - The union representing Iowa public workers is calling for a shutdown of prison admissions and transfers after a ninth inmate is dead from COVID-19.

“I have been begging for weeks to shut corrections down. No more intakes. Nobody coming into the system,” said AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan in a virtual news conference.

The Department of Corrections says stopping admissions would shift the burden to county jails, which could quickly become overcrowded and susceptible to virus outbreaks.

The latest COVID-19 prison death announced Monday was an inmate, 59-year-old Timothy Bryant, in Anamosa who was serving a life term for kidnapping.

The Anamosa facility has experienced the biggest surge in COVID-19 cases during a systemwide prison outbreak.

The Department of Corrections is set to ramp up delivery of N95 masks to prison workers, after the more robust protective gear has become more readily available lately.

In addition to the nine inmates who have died from COVID-19, one staff, an employee of the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women in Mitchellville, passed away from the virus last week.

A rundown of COVID-19 prison statistics is here. Virus outbreaks have been reported at state prison facilities in Coralville, Fort Dodge, Mount Pleasant, Anamosa, Rockwell City, and Clarinda.

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