State of Iowa Archives: on Crime

Terry Branstad: Rehabilitation over punishment to reduce recidivism

We are seeing a decline in our prison population and a reduction in recidivism. We are more focused on providing individuals with skills they need to have rewarding careers upon release, including apprenticeships within the institutions. The Department of Corrections has reduced phone fees as increased communications between inmates and their families can lead to a lower rate of reoffending. And in many cases, tax dollars are better spent on rehabilitation rather than incarceration.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to Iowa legislature Jan 12, 2016

Terry Branstad: Investigate wrongful convictions, especially for racial bias

We need to take steps to make sure that when our criminal justice system does impose punishment, that we punish the right person and that race does not play a role.

In the executive branch we recently established a new Wrongful Conviction Division to investigate wrongful convictions of innocent people. These efforts will not only bring justice for those who have been wrongfully incarcerated, but will protect public safety by ensuring the right person is held responsible when a crime is committed.

Source: 2016 State of the State speech to Iowa legislature Jan 12, 2016

Chuck Grassley: Expand mandatory minimum s for firearm & terrorism offenses

[In the bipartisan package of criminal justice reforms], Grassley's influence can be seen in provisions that increase the use of mandatory minimums. [One analyst] summarizes that the new bill would "expand mandatory minimum sentences for certain offenses, enhancing their use to punish selected firearm crimes and creating new mandatory minimums for offenses related to domestic violence and supporting terrorism." These changes "may address one of the common criticisms of mandatory minimums, which can result in heavier penalties for drug crimes than far graver offenses, such as violent crime."

Current firearm-related provisions dictate draconian penalties for people who never actually wield a gun--[the new package imposes] longer sentences for "selected firearm crimes." Likewise with "new mandatory minimums" for "supporting terrorism," which can include nonviolent actions such as donating money to the wrong charity or even exercising the right to freedom of speech.

Source: Reason Magazine on 2016 Iowa Senate race Oct 1, 2015

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 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

Terry Branstad: Retroactively allow DNA evidence for all felony convictions

Source: Iowa legislative voting records for H.F. 527 May 15, 2013

Rob Hogg: Retroactively allow DNA evidence for all felony convictions

Source: Iowa legislative voting records for H.F. 527 May 1, 2013

Chet Culver: $205M for new prison & improving old prison infrastructure

OnTheIssues notes:This list captures all expenditures over $20M. Most are prison spending; the line-item veto is not about that.

Governor's line-item veto: