Second Iowa Prison Inmate Dies in Past Week

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A second Iowa prison inmate in the past week is dead from COVID-19.

A 63-year-old man died Thursday afternoon after the Department of Corrections announced the previous death Monday.

A total of 18 inmates have now died from the virus.

COVID-19 cases in Iowa prisons have mostly subsided after a systemwide outbreak in November.

The latest death is Steven Van Riper, who had been serving a 10-year sentence for Sex Offender Registration violations in Polk County. Van Riper began serving his sentence less than six months ago.

November's systemwide outbreak coincided with a statewide spike.

At that time, the union representing Iowa public workers called for a shutdown of prison admissions and transfers.

More than 4,400 inmates and 670 staff members have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic struck the U.S. in March of 2020. Two staff members in the prison system have died from the virus.

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