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Deal slashes fine for safety violations at Iowa penitentiary

November 29, 2018

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s workplace safety agency has reduced a fine by nearly 90 percent for violations at Iowa’s maximum-security prison that put staff at risk during emergencies.

The Iowa Department of Corrections will pay a $5,000 fine for violations at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison under a settlement agreement with Labor Commissioner Michael Mauro’s office.

Regulators working under Mauro initially proposed a $49,500 fine after citing the department for 21 serious violations at the prison, which houses 700 of the state’s most dangerous inmates.

An inspection found that officers’ radios could malfunction or fail during violent incidents, including two assaults last year in which problems slowed or prevented emergency responses. Inspectors also found widespread confusion over emergency procedures due to inadequate planning and training.

The department had contested the violations. The settlement withdraws 1 violation and reduces the penalties associated with others. It gives the department until March 1 to fix problems.

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