IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials have reduced the disciplinary action taken against a prison guard who did not get approval to be featured in a positive story in his small hometown newspaper.
A settlement signed this month reduces the discipline against John Cox from a three-day to a one-day suspension. If Cox has no further discipline for the next year, the infraction will not be used against him in the future.
The Bloomfield Democrat, a weekly paper in southern Iowa, featured Cox in a front-page story last December about how he approaches his job as an officer at the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility. The article was about how Cox's life challenges led to his job at the prison and how he finds great satisfaction in helping inmates.
Prison officials say Cox violated policy by not getting prior approval before speaking with the journalist, who had been one of his school teachers.
Cox and his union had appealed the suspension, calling it a violation of his free speech rights.