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Grundy jail inmate alleges poor conditions

Sheriff: not aware of any complaints

An inmate of the Grundy County Jail in Morris is complaining about conditions while locked up.

Lonnie Williams, of West Des Moines, Iowa, has been in the jail since mid-July and, according to his girlfriend, Anastasia Coleman, Williams alleges there are unsanitary conditions in the jail. 

Coleman said Williams told her jail staff does not use gloves or hairnets when dealing with food, and that there is mold throughout the jail.

Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan said he has not been made aware of any complaints. And if there were any, Callahan said, he would know about it.

“Inmates have an avenue to report this,” Callahan said. “Inmates should report complaints to staff or to the superintendent.”

He said inmates can file a grievance or complaint.

Callahan did say an inmate complained recently of possible mold and the jail had a professional inspect an area in question. But no mold or leaks were found, he said.

Williams alleges via Coleman that there have been racial issues between inmates and jail staff.

“That’s a little disturbing that they’re going to the media,” Callahan said. “Certainly I and my superintendent would want to know if any racial slur has been made.”

Williams also complained that jail staff would not provide law books for him to read up on laws pertaining to his case, but Callahan said the jail is not required to provide those books. He added the jail has many other books for inmates to choose from to pass the time.

According to court records, Williams, 24, was indicted Aug. 2 on a Class X felony cocaine charge.

In recent months, Callahan faced allegations from Teamsters Local 700 that correctional officers in the jail had to transport inmates in an unsafe manner. Callahan said at the time it was a common bargaining tactic, as the union and county were struggling to reach agreement on a labor contract. No news has been made on a new contract.

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