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Construction blueprints stolen from site of new Fort Madison prison
From: Erica Absetz <erica () riskbasedsecurity com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2013 10:46:20 -0500
A break-in at a construction site for a $117 million state prison at
Fort Madison has resulted in the theft of blueprints for the new
maximum-security institution, a prison official confirmed Tuesday
The facility drawings were included in software on laptop computers
stolen from construction trailers at the site of the new 800-bed Iowa
State Penitentiary, said Fred Scaletta, assistant director of the Iowa
Department of Corrections. The theft, which also involved tools,
occurred June 19.
The new prison is slated to house Iowa’s toughest criminals, many of
them serving life sentences for convictions of first-degree murder.
Danny Homan, president of a union representing Fort Madison prison
employees, described the theft of the blueprints as a “major security
breach” that could threaten the safety of the prison staff and the
public for decades to come.
Homan, who heads Council 61 of the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees, criticized Gov. Terry Branstad and
Iowa Corrections Director John Baldwin. He contended they have refused
to acknowledge “that there is a severe security crisis in the state of
Iowa’s correctional institutions and that critically low staffing and
the administration’s poor communication with staff are the reasons for
“There is a failure of leadership and an atmosphere of denial that
continues to be pervasive in the governor’s office and the Department
of Corrections’ administration,” Homan said.
Scaletta said prison officials don’t believe the theft of the
blueprints will jeopardize security at the new prison. The theft is
under investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation,
Fort Madison Police Department and the prison’s security staff, he
”An open door policy exists at ISP for all staff to address their
concerns and ideas to enhance operations with administrators. Mr.
Homan’s inference that contraband occurs as a result of alleged
staffing deficiencies is inaccurate and unfounded,” Scaletta said.
The disclosure of the construction site break-in follows an
announcement by state prison officials on Monday that two ropes
fashioned from braided sheets and other contraband items were found
during a routine search of a cellhouse at the existing Fort Madison
prison. That prompted speculation an escape attempt may have been
planned. Other items found included sheets, blankets, gloves and sand
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- Construction blueprints stolen from site of new Fort Madison prison Erica Absetz (Jun 26)