Bomb-making substance found in inmate’s cell at Anamosa State Penitentiary

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ANAMOSA, Iowa — A substance that could be used to make a bomb was found inside an inmate’s cell at the Anamosa State Penitentiary, according to the Iowa Department of Corrections.

After learning “credible intelligence,” agents with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation on Friday interviewed inmates at the Anamosa State Penitentiary who were suspected of planning to use an explosive device.

“In their interviews and subsequent search at the facility with the DOC, a household substance was discovered in an inmate’s cell that could potentially have been used in the creation of an explosive substance if additional materials were added,” the Iowa Department of Corrections said.

The substance will now be examined by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Authorities say there remains no danger to the public or the prison.

Anamosa State Penitentiary is the same prison where two employees were allegedly killed by two inmates during an attempted escape earlier this year.

Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Council 61 representing Iowa’s corrections officers and staff, said more must be done to protect employees at the Anamosa prison.

“In the aftermath of the murders at Anamosa in March, I called on the Department of Corrections to lock down the prison, shake it down, and put much more rigorous safety protocols in place,” said Homan. “They did not take our advice. Now, we find out that prisoners at Anamosa were able to secure bombmaking materials.”

Homan has previously said the killings at the Anamosa State Penitentiary were the result of understaffing and underfunding at the prison. This legislative session, Iowa lawmakers approved a funding increase of nearly $21 million for the Iowa Department of Corrections.

“With their new appropriation, they must hire the staff, replace the equipment necessary, and put the proper protocols in place to make our institutions safe,” Homan said. “Every day they don’t puts the lives of both the staff and inmates at risk.”

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