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Old 07-27-2003, 05:40 PM
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danielle danielle is offline
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Post Company providing prison fences not registered in Iowa

Company providing prison fences not registered in Iowa

OAKDALE, Iowa (AP) -- The company that supplied a trouble-prone fence at a state prison in which two inmates escaped has not registered to do business in the state since 1998.

Safeguards Technology Inc., based in New Jersey, has not had a certificate of authority to do business in Iowa since Aug. 3, 2000, when the state revoked its certificate for failure to update information.

Even without the certification, Safeguards has contracted with the state for more than $3 million worth of work at state prisons in Fort Madison, Anamosa and Mount Pleasant.

The state code requires any out-of-state corporation to apply for a certificate to do business. The application gives the state information about the company which must be updated every two years.

"I think it's a travesty," said Rep. Lance Horbach, R-Tama, chairman of the legislative committee responsible for the Department of Corrections budget. "We set up the rules. We require compliance. Then we don't even abide by the rules."

Safeguards President Jeff Curtis did not return phone calls seeking comment.

State officials said they plan to investigate the issue.

The Iowa Medical and Classification Center at Oakdale, the first stop for all inmates as they enter the state's corrections system, had a taught-wire fence installed by Safeguards. Even though the high-tech fencing system was plagued by problems, the state signed off on the project in November and paid the company $657,000.

Shortly after prison staff disconnected the fence because of a construction project on the prison grounds two inmates, Omar Wilkins, 19, convicted of first-degree murder and Jeffrey Hershberger, 38, sentenced to 15 years for theft, climbed the fence and escaped.

Both were arrested separately in Atlanta weeks after their April 12 escape.

Gov. Tom Vilsack scolded the prison for not taking added precautions and sought a review of all prisons.

Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta said he was not prepared to comment on Safeguards.

"I was not aware of that situation," Scaletta said Friday. "We would not have any comment at this time. I need to consult with our attorney to see if anything should be done."

Businesses violating the state code for registering face a maximum $1,000 civil penalty.

"Unfortunately, there is no teeth to it (the law) ... to force these businesses to file, or to cease and desist doing business in Iowa," said Tom Tully, executive officer and assistant director of business with the Iowa Secretary of State's Office. "Very seldomly does the state or any other business for that matter even check with us."

Tully estimated that 90 percent of corporations comply with the law.

Records show Safeguards is incorporated in Georgia, where online Secretary of State records show the company is delinquent in its filings, as well.
Monica Danielle
On September 22, 2003, my better half came home after 657 days in an Alabama prison!!!

And he's now forever free - passing away from this life and into the next - on January 9, 2010.

My Sweet Wayne
January 21, 1954 - January 9, 2010

I'll always love you.
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