State of Iowa Archives: on Crime


Doug Butzier: Stricter punishment doesn't reduce crime

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Stricter punishment reduces crime"?

A: I disagree with this statement.

Source: E-mail interview: 2014 Iowa Senate race with OnTheIssues.org Sep 17, 2014

Joni Ernst: Independently investigate sexual crime in military

Joni Ernst, who served more than 20 years in the military, said that she was sexually harassed in the military and, given her experience, is backing the removal of cases of sexual assault from the military chain of command, a position that puts her at odds with much of the GOP.

Ernst tells TIME, "These were some things where I was able to say stop and it simply stopped but there are other circumstances both for women and for men where they don't stop and they may be afraid to report it. Legislation must ensure that sexual crimes in the military are both independently investigated and prosecuted." [The Pentagon opposes independent investigations, requiring that reports go through the military chain of command].

Sexual assault in the military is reaching epidemic proportions, discouraging many women from enlisting. In 2012, of the 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact in the military only 3,000 were reported and only 400 went to trial.

Source: Time magazine on 2014 Iowa Senate debates Aug 15, 2014

Barack Obama: Lack of enforcement sets tone for more hate crimes

OBAMA: [to Biden]: There is a consequence to the demagoguery [over immigration]--hate crimes against Latinos have gone way up over the last year. We’ve also seen over the last several months this epidemic of nooses being hung all across the country since the events down in Jena, Louisiana. And it indicates the degree to which a president has to set a tone of bringing all people together as opposed to excluding people. And being willing to talk about racial issues when they arise and having a civil rights division of the justice department that is aggressive about investigating. So, what can we do to strengthen the enforcement of hate crimes legislation? It is something that I will prioritize as president but I don’t want to have to wait until I am.

BIDEN: We can and we should move [the pending Hate Crimes legislation] forward. The impediment right now is the president. We need someone in the civil rights division who is aggressive in going after these hate crimes. I would not wait.

Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum Dec 1, 2007

Hillary Clinton: Address the unacceptable increase in incarceration

Q: Some people say your husband’s crime bill is one of the primary factors behind the rising incarceration rate for blacks and Latinos. It earmarked $8 billion dollars for prisons and continued a trend to harsher sentencing. Do you regret how this has affected the black community?

A: I think that the results--not only at the federal level but at the state level--have been an unacceptable increase in incarceration across the board & now we have to address that. At the time, there were reasons why the Congress wanted to push through a certain set of penalties and increase prison construction and there was a lot of support for that across a lot of communities. It’s hard to remember now but the crime rate in the early 1990s was very high. But we’ve got to take stock now of the consequences, so that’s why I want to have a thorough review of all of the penalties, of all the kinds of sentencing, and more importantly start having more diversion and having more second chance programs.

Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum Dec 1, 2007

Joe Biden: Bush is impediment to hate crimes legislation

OBAMA: [to Biden]: There is a consequence to the demagoguery [over immigration]--hate crimes against Latinos have gone way up. We’ve also seen this epidemic of nooses being hung all across the country since the events down in Jena. So, what can we do to strengthen the enforcement of hate crimes legislation? It is something that I will prioritize as president but I don’t want to have to wait until I am.

BIDEN: We can and we should move [the pending Hate Crimes legislation] forward. The impediment right now is the president. We need someone in the civil rights division who is aggressive in going after these hate crimes. I would not wait. Why did we not hear immediately from the justice department in the Jena 6? Why did we not hear immediately when the rash of burnings took place? Why did we not hear? The reason is that they are not committed. Hate crimes are just that. The vilest and filthiest of crimes. And when you let one celebrated hate crime go, you generate an attitude.

Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum Dec 1, 2007

Tom Vilsack: Opposes death penalty in Iowa

Republican lawmakers Wednesday made good on their promise to call for reinstating the death penalty in Iowa, proposing a law that would apply to people convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing children.

The issue has been fueled in part by high-profile slayings of children in Iowa this year. But legislative approval appears unlikely, with the Democratic leader in the evenly split Senate vowing to block debate.

Nonetheless, the issue’s political potential could be significant, with control of the governor’s office and a narrowly divided Legislature on the line in next year’s election. The issue also spotlights Gov. Tom Vilsack’s opposition to the death penalty at a time when he is weighing a campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Source: Political blog “Iowans Against the Death Penalty” Dec 1, 2005

Art Small: Allow judges discretion in sentencing

Judges must be given greater latitude or discretion so that they can chose amongst sentencing options that permit the more cost-effective approaches to be used. Legislators must back away from their propensity to attempt to micromanage what sentences the judges can impose. Sentencing reform is needed and those who support it are not being “soft on crime” but are being realistic about what can work.
Source: Governor’s study on Crime and Punishment in Iowa Dec 31, 2002

Art Small: Involve faith-based providers in rehabilitation

Iowa should bring the reinventing government drive, championed by policy thinkers like David Osborne, to state and local probation so that fewer first-time felons become career criminals, waste years behind bars, never parent their children, and never work for a living. Non-government providers of such services, including faith-based providers, should be permitted to compete with government providers and be funded via contracts and vouchers.
Source: Governor’s study on Crime and Punishment in Iowa Dec 31, 2002

Jack Hatch: Programs for at-risk youth and job skills for inmates

Source: 2002 Iowa Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2002

Tom Fiegen: Limit parole but consider penalties other than incarceration

Source: Iowa Congressional 2002 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2002

Al Gore: Recognizes disparities in sentencing blacks

We need to recognize the inequities in our criminal justice system which have, in part, resulted in the very high incarceration rate for African Americans. We have to recognize that while everyone in our country, from every group, wants to see vigorous enforcement of the law and reduction in crime, there has to be equal enforcement, including in sentencing. And there are disparities in sentencing that need to be addressed.
Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa Jan 17, 2000

Al Gore: Tough “Second-chance schools” for kids

Today, I propose the creation of second-chance schools - where kids headed for trouble, and those caught with guns, can receive the strict discipline and intensive services they need. For all schools, there should be a simple policy toward guns: zero tolerance, period. All schools should be gun-free, drug-free, and safe and secure. We should increase our commitment to after-school care this year, so children have a place to learn in those afternoon hours when most juvenile crimes occur.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

  • The above quotations are from State of Iowa Politicians: Archives.
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2016 Presidential contenders on Crime:
  Republicans:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Democrats:
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
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