Prison Officials Dispute OSHA Citations At Anamosa Prison

Anamosa, Iowa — State prison officials are disputing an OSHA report that cited deficiencies in the radio communications system for staff at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.

The report from the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration was issued eight months before a correctional officer and a nurse were killed inside the Anamosa prison. The Iowa Department of Corrections is appealing the $20,000 OSHA fine.

Department spokesman Cord Overton said data from incidents when staff hit the emergency button on their radios will be introduced as evidence this summer as an administrative law judge reviews the case. Overton said in a written statement that he cannot address specific details until after the case is resolved, but he said the agency is confident the radio communication system “has not caused any delays in response to staff assaults.”

The OSHA investigation at Anamosa, which happened in February of last year, did not include interviews with prison managers according to Overton.

KCRG TV was first to acquire the Iowa OSHA report, through a public records request. The report indicated the Anamosa prison’s communication system would not show the location of an emergency if an employee radioed that he or she was being attacked. OSHA cited other problems, including dropped calls within the prison.

Governor Kim Reynolds has said she is committed to addressing any security issues that are identified by reviews launched after last month’s murders of two Anamosa prison employees.

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