Union Leader Confirms Death of Second Iowa Correctional Officer from COVID-19

Coronavirus

DES MOINES, Iowa — A second correctional officer at an Iowa prison has died from COVID-19, according to state union officials.

“If we don’t get a handle on what’s going on inside the correctional institutions in the state of Iowa, more inmates and more staff are going to die,” said Danny Homan, the president of AFSCME Council 61, which represents Iowa’s correctional officers and staff.

After a correctional officer died from the virus in November, state union leaders and lawmakers called on Gov. Kim Reynolds to provide some assistance to state prisons. 

“I was notified at 10:35 via text that another correctional officer had his life cut short due to COVID-19,” explained Homan.

Homan said the officer was employed at the correctional facility in Clarinda. 

According to the Iowa Department of Corrections, since the pandemic began, ten inmates have died from the virus. 

Homan suggested that the state shut down its prisons for four weeks to curb the spread of the virus.  

“They have to shut down, stop inmates, stop admissions, stop transfers between institutions, stop moving people from cell house to cell house,” said Homan. “Shelter in place until they can figure out what’s going on.”

The union president also said that he does not want to start a war with the governor, but he wants her to take action against the virus. 

“Make our prisons safe. Shut down the prison system. Get this virus under control inside our institutions so no one — and I mean no one — has to die, staff or inmates. Shut it down,” said Homan. 

WHO 13 News reached out the Iowa Department of Corrections for comment but the department has not responded to the request. 

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