Censure and deceit: Another Iowa scandal swept under the bureaucratic rug
"Censure and Deceit:
Another Iowa Scandal Swept Under the Bureaucratic Rug"
By Jack Hays
As early as 2006, a female employee of the Clinical Care Unit - a unit for the seriously mentally ill at the Iowa State Pen. (ISP) in Fort Madison, Iowa (now closed1) - complained of sexual harassment from both staff and prisoners. However, her direct supervisor simply stated that if he was a prisoner he would try to "get with" her as well. This poor woman was eventually fired. She filed a lawsuit in which the Iowa Attorney General's office represented the state. She lost in the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Des Moines, Iowa. On appeal, the court reversed. She later won a $2.6 Million lawsuit when the case was sent back to the Iowa District Court, again. To cover-up what the state had done, the Iowa D.O.C. and the Iowa Attorney General's office lobbied the state legislature to ban what they called "porn" but is actually First Amendment protected literature, art, performing arts, and other material - this gave the impression that it was depraved prisoners' fault, not troglodytes masquerading as Correctional professionals.
When the lady persevered in her complaints, one male officer erected a banana in the form of a penis, placed it in the unit's dumbwaiter with a sign that announced, "Bring back any memories, Whore!?" Another male officer would read jokes and articles out of a well known Male Entertainment magazine deliberately within earshot of the lady. Both of these men were eventually fired for the treatment the lady was subjected to over the course of years. Despite the fact that
1 The Iowa Department of Corrections was ordered to build this unit. The Chief judge admonished, "Iowa should be ashamed", due to the treatment of the mentally ill in Iowa's system. They closed the Unit without the court's permission. See Goff v. Harper, 59 F.Supp.2d 910, 913, 924 (S.D. Iowa 1999). Evidently, Iowa is not "ashamed" because they closed the unit and are now subjecting the mentally ill to worse treatment at I.S.P., which includes parading men around on a dog leash (calling it a "tether") to and from their cells. See Hays v. State, et al., Iowa District Court for Polk County, #CVCV058075 @iowacourts.gov.
Page 1 of 3 they found enough sexual harassment to fire these men, the Iowa Attorney General office refused to settle out of court - after she was fired, as well.2
The Iowa A.G. office waged a court battle - to the tune of millions of taxpayer dollars - refusing, no matter what the cost or hard evidence showing they were wrong, to settle with this persecuted lady.3 Moreover, both the A.G.'s office and the most circulated newspaper in the state made the prisoners' the villains in their account. There was no mention of the calling of this woman a "whore", nor other sexual harassment and persecution on the part of staff. In fact, the majority of "news" reported was about movies complained of4, movies played to unstable sex offenders who regularly masturbated within plain view of female staff - which had nothing at all to do with men and women in general population.
After the state employees and the A.G.'s office cost taxpayers millions, the Iowa D.O.C. then proceeded to further sweep their wrongdoing under their bureaucratic rug by lobbying for Iowa Code 904.310A to ban all "nudity" from any "material or information".5 The A.G.'s office and the Iowa D.O.C. told the press and public they were banning "porn". This was to give the impression that the entire $2.6 million award - not to mention all the other costs associated with years of litigation - was the fault of a bunch of prisoners looking at "porn". However, as the lawsuit filed against the unconstitutional statute stated, what they are taking from the prisoners of Iowa is not "porn" but constitutionally protected
2 See Sink v. State, 888 N.W.2d 682, Case No. 15-0264 (Iowa Ct. Appeals, October 12th, 2016).
3 Assistant Attorney General William Hill regularly takes even small claims all the way to appeal and loses - officers have broken men's televisions and, instead of paying for the T.V., Hill will battle all the way through the courts, costing taxpayers thousands for a $150.00 television. I know because I helped with the litigation against Hill.
4 In fairness, some papers reported the lawsuit file on behalf of the prisoners. However, they gave it the spin of prisoners suing for "porn" - which is far from the truth. A free press was not created for this. "In the First Amendment the founding fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role to democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713, 717 (1971) (Black, J., concurring) (my emphasis).
5 See Leonard, et al. v. State, et al., Iowa District Court for Polk County, Case #CVCV057085, wherein I am a party and the "class representative" in a class action. See also, the order in this case for injunctive relief on April 3rd, 2019, allowing any "mere, non-sexually explicit, nudity". www.iowacourts.gov
Page 2 of 3 art, performing arts, and literature; librarians have submitted sworn statements that books were taken and destroyed from the library. Moreover, all they failed to inform the public that this took place in the Clinical Care Unit, not general population. Indeed, the Iowa D.O.C. has placed "mature audience" blocks on the televisions of 40, 50, 60, 70, 80+ year old men and women's televisions after the lawsuit was filed ... in retaliation for the lawsuit. Even though the court has ordered the Iowa D.O.C. not to block mere nudity, the Iowa D.O.C. continues to destroy mere nude photographs, artwork, etc. They are simply doing whatever they want to do ... with impunity. Worse still, their area Veterans who fought in foreign wars who cannot even watch a documentary of that foreign war when it is "mature audience" rated by the F.C.C.
On November 15th, 2019, I had a hearing to modify and enforce the injunctive relief to remove the "mature audience" blocks from our televisions, which block documentaries, commercials, etc. To date, I have had no ruling on this - February 2nd, 2020. What I have had is a retaliatory transfer and two retaliatory disciplinary reports .... - Jack Hays, Clarinda Correctional Facility, Clarinda, Iowa
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