Being tough on crime is not cheap. The Department of Corrections has a budget of more than $300 million and there is a $240 million plan on the table to build a new prison and expand others. Those numbers are pertinent at a time when the state is talking cutbacks to agency budgets.
The answer to the pressing problem of prisons some say lies not in bricks and mortar but in the law. Many who are incarcerated pose little risk to the public; some pose more risk to themselves. Yet non-violent offenders, the addicted and the mentally ill are treated the same under the state’s sentencing laws.
We’ll explore this topic on The Iowa Journal. Program guests include Representative Todd Taylor, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, who is spearheading the legislative effort to expand corrections; and Carlos Jayne, a long time advocate for prison reform.
Also on the program, Out and About Correspondent Dan Kaercher visits the historic prison town of Fort Madison and David Pitt of the Associated Press shares his insights on Iowa's headline news.