Fort Madison prison protest

Officers with the Iowa State Penitentiary plan to rally Friday afternoon outside the Fort Madison prison to protest what they see as staffing shortages that have led to a jump in inmate violence.

Danny Homan leads Council 61 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents many of the prison workers. He told The Des Moines Register on Thursday that prison workers believe the staffing problems will lead to a riot or a slaying.

The prison has more than 970 inmates and more than 300 guards.

Iowa Corrections Director John Baldwin told the newspaper that some prison workers have been assaulted but that prison employment comes with risks.

He says he believes inmates and staffers are safe despite the tight budgeting.

AFSCME union stewards have filed 42 staffing grievances in the past five months including: onn October 5, 2011, an ISP recreational staff worker was assaulted by an inmate because of security shortages, and on September 22, 2011 an inmate choked an ISP nurse as she was unescorted because of security shortages.