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October 25, 2011

Noting the costs of being tough on sex offenders in Iowa

This local article, headlined "Iowa sex offender convictions rise, pushing up costs, data show," reports data on sex offender convictions and consequences in the heartland.  Here are the details:

The number of people convicted in Iowa for sex crimes has grown for each of the last five years, driving up the already growing cost to taxpayers of monitoring and imprisonment.

A draft of a new state report shows prisons are also housing sex offenders for longer periods of time and parole caseloads are growing significantly.  By 2021, some 2,600 sex offenders are expected to be serving “special sentences” under a stringent state law passed in 2005, meaning they will be supervised after their prison release for 10 years or life depending on the seriousness of their crimes.

“The special sentence, particularly lifetime supervision, will increase the parole caseload by 78 percent in 10 years,” the draft report released this month by Iowa’s Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning found.  The additional cost of monitoring the offenders will total at least $34.54 million during that span, according to the report.

Members of the Iowa Sex Offender Research Council will meet Wednesday at the Statehouse to discuss the new report.  The council has urged state leaders to explore more effective and less expensive ways of monitoring sex offenders.  “We’re trying to figure out policy-wise what makes the most sense to do now,” said Sally Kreamer, who heads the 5th Judicial District correctional services.  “Caseloads are only going to get larger and larger.  If we don’t figure out some strategy soon, I’ll have to come back to my board and say, ‘What is it that you don’t want us to do anymore?’ ”

The Legislature agreed last year to allow corrections officials to use risk assessments to decide which offenders should be subject to electronic monitoring after they have been released from prison.  That move saved thousands of dollars without causing any increased public safety issues, Kreamer said.  She said research shows Iowa has been more successful than others in monitoring those at highest risk and curbing recidivism.

Now, however, officials are running out of ideas on how to deal with the cost of housing more sex offenders in prison and monitoring hundreds more on parole throughout the state.  “Were trying to brainstorm and figure out what to do,” Kreamer said.  “But it’s really hard to find good ideas.”

The number of sex offenders in Iowa prisons reached 542 this year, up from 507 in 2007. Those sent back to prison for parole violations this year numbered 68, compared with four in 2007....

A 2009 investigation by The Des Moines Register found the flood of new sex offenders under supervision would cost taxpayers a minimum of $168 million over 20 years, or about $8.4 million a year.  The new study tallied only the minimum monitoring that would be required under the 2005 law and excluded the probation officer salaries the Register considered....

[T]he new state report and other research nationally suggests more savings might be found by assessing and treating juvenile offenders, who make up a growing part of Iowa’s sex offender population.  “There is more latitude in the juvenile area because they respond more easily to treatment,” said [State Senator Bob] Dvorsky, a member of the sex offender council. “There are ways that maybe we can work with them and get them out of the system if they are identified quickly.”

October 25, 2011 at 09:22 AM | Permalink


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As a taxpayer I want to prosecute anyone putting 20 year old guys with 17 year old girlfriends on the monitoring list. Same is true of kids peeing in an alley. That is an urinary act, not a sex act. Such overzealous lawyers are ripping off the taxpayer and should be arrested or if immune, beaten with a stick. No grandpas pinching the bottom of the baby. No teens sexting, nor anyone else sexting. That is self-produced porn, and an impossibility as a crime. If do not affect others nor make a claim, I can burn down my house, pound my car into little pieces, cut down my tree, etc. Those are not crimes. I suspect the majority of monitored offenders are low riak, harmless ones. I suspect, the serial killers and rapists, the heartless child kidnappers are not even on those lists.

Even if they were, only incapacitation can protect the public, not lawyer make work, paper shuffling. This program is a tax payer fraud itself.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 25, 2011 12:48:39 PM

here's a though why not follow the CONSTUTION! not to mention 200 plus years of United State of America legal history....you know. You comit a crime. You are charged in FRONT OF A JURY! ...not a plea bargain. IF convicted you are given a LEGAL court ordered sentence! You SERVE that sentence! THAT'S IT! state's right to screw with you ENDS!

Posted by: rodsmith | Oct 25, 2011 3:49:08 PM

Where are all these new offenders coming from, out of state??? Sounds similar to having a termite problem, nobody seems to see them until they start digging into the woodwork. Hard to believe all of these cases are attributable to hands on offenses that require that level of supervision. Sounds more like the new poster child for federal and state prosecutions.

Posted by: comment | Oct 25, 2011 6:25:39 PM

well comment! they are probably puling the same criminal stupidity ohio did. When they jumped on the AWA bandwaggon they send out 10-14 THOUSAND letters telling people that they had been ILLEGALLY RECLASSIFIED ...as was eventualy ruled b the ohio state supreme court that they would now have new restrictions and reporting dates...in 1,000's of cases they went from NOTHING ....to having to registry and then automaticaly become tier 3 the WORSE OF THE WORST with mandatory reporting every 90days for the rest of their LIFE! from NOTIHNG no registry NO REPORTING....no nothing!

after a few years of upwards of 18,000 diff lawsuits their own state supreme court ruled the registry had in FACT as well as LAW BECOME a PUNISHMENT therefore it could NOT be applied AFTER THE FACT....so effective IMMEDIATLEY every one had to only follow the law that WAS THE LAW AT THE TIME OF THEIR CRIME......


Posted by: rodsmith | Oct 26, 2011 1:20:21 AM

"Where are they all coming from?" is a good question. Really. Are more and more men becoming deviant? Or, is more and more behavior being considered criminal? Or what?

Often on this site, I have read good articles about the power of the prosecutor and of the police who work hand and glove. That is one of the reasons there are more and more, I think. It is the prosecutor's decision to charge somebody.
But, that isn't the only reason, society seems to need scapegoats, right now, just like it did back in Salem. There are probably psychological and sociological reasons for this.

Then, there is the good ole media, if it bleeds it leads, but, if it has the word "sex" in it, it goes even ahead of bleeding, way to the top of the list.

Then, there is the feminist movement, which isn't working well for most women, who are now overworked, and they are angry with the men for their plight. They want the men punished, for something, anything, so they accuse. The men don't want to marry them because in their overworked state, they are not very loveable, so the females get even angrier and more vengeful.

There must be more reasons than this, though, that it just keep growing, even though the sentences are so harsh, that a touch in the wrong place can get you 20 years in the penitentary.

Posted by: Dana Laine | Oct 26, 2011 4:59:09 PM

Dana Laine:

And all of this "over prosecution and over criminalization" without the majority of states adopting the POS Adam Walsh Act?

But Bill and TQ just know that the "vast majority" of people listed as SO's are forcible rapists and child molesters (any degree, from penetration to changing a diaper improperly).

Soronel, where is your Texas data?

Do not ever visit a chat room. There are more lazy detectives there than any crime scene.

And why do most of the current terror threats have an FBI stooge who was the major instigator in the crime?

As a nation, we are not any safer from real threats. That's what concerns me the most.

Posted by: albeed | Oct 27, 2011 1:28:10 AM

albeed: That is a lovely and accurate description of the POSAWA. If we could only hold the people who created it, individually and personally responsible for it, that would be some amount of justice. If they would at least just help pay for some of it, that would be a start.

I personally don’t understand all this obsession about who is and is not listed on the Registries. Obviously, some people should not be on there but I think most of the people listed on there are people who have committed a crime for which the Registry Terrorists would like to see them listed on a Registry.

But who cares if the Registries had only “forcible rapists and child molesters” listed on them? Would that suddenly make the Registries moral? Would they suddenly become useful? Somehow they would magically start “protecting people”? No, but the increased harassment on the smaller number of people listed would definitely lead to more crimes and violence.

I will tell you for sure who is not listed on the Registries - violent, career criminals who have only gravely harmed or killed people, but who have not been convicted of a sex crime. Those people are not on the Registries because they are not dangerous. Or, because it would just take so much darn effort. Obviously, if it only saves one child, it’s not worth it.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Oct 27, 2011 8:43:50 AM

Dana Laine:

I think that Americans have a very deep-rooted need to have a group of people that they can hate and feel better than. I really think much of the “need” for the Registries is because of that. Look at most Americans today, their true colors are showing and they are a very sad bunch.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Oct 27, 2011 8:48:33 AM

If these laws are actually for “protecting children” and “public safety”, then the greatest cost of all surely must be that the laws are counterproductive. But, of course, the laws aren’t really for that, so I guess we should all focus on the cost and other things.

Whatever. The Registries and the rest of the stupidity are immoral. They are unacceptable. People who are listed on them should be doing every thing that is legal every single day to retaliate for them. Of course that includes being around children as much as possible and convenient.

These immoral laws exist every day and doing nothing but harass and punish people. The fact that the laws do nothing significantly useful does not matter to the terrorists who support them. The laws can exist and not do enough harm to them. Heck, probably well more than half of them don’t even pay one dime to support their nanny governments. If you let their immoral laws exist without retaliation, you are a fool.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Oct 27, 2011 8:51:37 AM

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Posted by: Sex Crime Attorney West Palm Beach | Nov 7, 2011 1:57:01 AM

Thank you Supremacy Clause. Being a mom of a son that is on the sex offender list, you are right. This is tax payer fraud and something that is going to label these individuals for a long time. These individuals are not a threat to the public and should not be treated as such. However, they make life outside prison so difficult for them - they prefer to be in prison. It is a vicious cycle. I do hope that someone realizes a lot of the individuals on the sex offender list do not need to be there. I am sure they could save a lot of money if they would change the laws. It is okay for a 14 year old to raise a baby, but not to have sex. Tell me how this works! The law has a very gray area.

Posted by: Carol Hansen | Nov 7, 2011 7:36:35 PM

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