FORT MADISON - Iowa State Penitentiary facing criticism from a union that represents correctional officers following a stabbing attack by an inmate at the prison.
A Hispanic correctional officer was stabbed while on the job Wednesday morning. Officials say he was attacked by a white supremacist gang member.
Danny Homan, president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 61, says several tips were given and staff members ignored warnings that inmate attacks were planned.
"There is so many things wrong at the Iowa State Penitentiary," said Homan.
AFSCME says one problem is the priorities of the penitentiary. The union says officials refuse to meet with their leaders and representatives aren't owning up to the dangerous situations that have happened at the prison.
"I always used to say someone is going to get seriously hurt or killed if we don't change," said Homan. "Well I can now move past the seriously hurt. Right now I have a correctional officer that is in the University of Iowa hospital with five stab wounds."
The attack comes on the heels of another incident that occurred on Saturday. AFSCME says both attacks were the work of a white supremacist gang.
"Both of these gentleman are a member of what is called the Peckerwood gang," said Homan. "When the inmate came out of his cell with 2 ten inch shivs one in each hand, he bypassed two white officers and the officer he attacked is of Hispanic, Mexican decent."
According to AFSCME, inmate informants have been telling staff that attacks like these were being planned, but that no safety measures were addressed.
"What point in time is the Department of Corrections going to start talking this stuff seriously, running it like a prison and start treating inmates like inmates and protecting the staff because if they don't someone will get killed," said Homan. "And I hope and pray that doesn't happen."
Keith Piper is the inmate who allegedly stabbed the correctional officer. He is currently serving 45-years and may face additional charges as a result of the incident. The officer is in stable condition. His name is not being released at this time.
A Corrections Department spokeswoman declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing.
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