Des Moines, Iowa — On the heels of another assault last weekend and the tragic murder of two correctional workers in Anamosa in March, an Iowa lawmakers is calling on Governor Reynolds to take immediate action to improve safety at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. 

“After the tragic deaths of Lorena Schulte and Robert McFarland just a month ago, and the inmate assault on staff last weekend makes clear the Reynolds administration must immediately do more to keep the front line workers in our prisons safe,” said State Rep. Marti Anderson, Ranking Member of the House Justice Systems Appropriations Subcommittee, in a letter to Governor Reynolds today.

“I am requesting an update within 48 hours from your administration to all members of the House and Senate Justice Systems Appropriations Subcommittee outlining the additional safety you have and will be implementing since the most recent assault on Saturday, April 24,” added Anderson. 

Last Friday, Rep. Anderson joined other Iowa lawmakers on a tour of the Anamosa State Penitentiary and met with staff about the conditions inside the prison. The lawmakers learned low staffing levels left two correctional officers to supervise a cell block with almost 300 offenders; radio equipment needs upgrading; and the old facility has several blind spots that create an unsafe environment. 

Last week, Iowa lawmakers sent a letter to the US Departments of Justice and Labor requesting an outside investigation into the deaths at Anamosa and a safety review in all of Iowa’s correctional institutions.