Position Papers

Summary of Position Statements

Iowa Justice Action Network takes a stance on several issues. Below you will find a summary of our position on issues related to mass incarceration. 

Restoration of Voting Rights

IJAN favors full restoration of voting rights for those who have committed a felony and have been released from incarceration. This requires an amendment to the Iowa Constitution and action by both the Governor and the Legislature. Denial of voting rights contributes to the ongoing dehumanization and isolation of those who have paid their debt to society.

Mental Health

Over 60 percent of the inmates of Iowa’s prisons have a diagnosed mental illness, as does a higher percentage of those in jails. It is vital that persons with mental illness be treated, rather than incarcerated. This requires diversion programs to keep them out of jail, and it requires adequate funding for mental health services in Iowa.

Sentencing Reform

IJAN favors the reduction or elimination of mandatory minimum sentencing for most felonies, as this reduces the discretion of judges and parole boards to tailor the time served on a sentence to the individual circumstances of the offender. We also favor a re-examination of the length of sentences for a variety of offenses. Excessively long sentences do not provide additional deterrence and are extremely costly to the taxpayers.

Alternatives to Incarceration

Many offenders, especially those who have committed non-violent offenses, can be safely diverted to community-based corrections. This reduces the likelihood of re-offending and greatly reduces the cost to taxpayers. In addition, parole and probation services must be adequately funded, so that returning citizens have the support they need to make a successful re-entry into society.

Death Penalty

IJAN is opposed to any effort to re-introduce the death penalty in Iowa. It is ineffective in deterring crime, it is extremely costly, and given the large number of exonerations that have occurred in recent years, it clearly contains the risk of the grave injustice of executing innocent persons.

For detailed versions of our position statements, or for other questions, please contact us.

Detailed Version of Our Position Satement

These issues greatly impact mass incarceration, overpopulated prisons and are extremely costly to tax payers.

Death Penalty

Learn about our stance on the Death Penalty and why we oppose the reintroduction of the Death Penalty in Iowa.

Alternatives to Incarceration

Policy decisions over the past 50 years by the State of Iowa and Federal Government resulted in extremely high incarceration rates.

Sentencing Policies

Our stance on sentencing policies for non-violent offenses helps reduce the number of problems for our citizens.

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