UPDATE: Iowa prison closures due to budget cuts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Iowa prison closures due to budget cuts

Posted: Updated:
ALLAMAKEE COUNTY (KWWL) -

UPDATE:

The spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Corrections sent us a statement saying, "We are moving forward thoughtfully with implementing the process.

Many staff at Luster Heights will have the opportunity to work in other units or institutions within the department. Department-wide, the staff reductions will come from unfilled positions, probationary staff, and a combination of union and non-union staff.

Regarding the inmates, a number of these individuals have already been granted release and will continue to work through their placement plans. Others will come back into the main institution or move to other institutions, possibly closer to where they are planning on returning when released from prison."

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The Iowa Department of Corrections announcing prison closures across the state.

They will be suspending services at Luster Heights Work Camp in Harpers Ferry. Also at  the Lodge in Clarinda, the John Bennett Unit in Fort Madison, and the Residential Treatment Services in Sheldon.

The department says this is because of a 5.5-million dollar budget cut, which is required since the state is in a challenging position financially.

It's not clear just how many correctional employees will be affected.

AFSCME, the union that represents the employees says they weren't notified of these actions until they were put in place.

At Luster Heights, there currently are 13 full-time employees.

The D.O.C says many will have the opportunity to work at other facilities. 

As for the inmates, according to the D.O.C's website, there are 85 at Luster Heights. Many of them work in nearby communities.

When asking officials what will happen with them, KWWL couldn't get a clear answer, but they'll most likely be moved.

The union says at a time when prisons are severely understaffed, this is the last place Iowa needs to be cutting corners.

However, the D.O.C says public safety remains their highest priority. 

No word on how long this temporary suspension will be. 

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