Parents for Great Iowa Schools
A group of parents concerned about the future of public schools in Iowa have launched a new organization to connect parents across the state.
The group, Parents for Great Iowa Schools, was formed to make sure every child in Iowa gets a world-class public education that will prepare them for 21st-century challenges and generate the skilled workforce Iowa needs.
Iowans are encouraged to visit the group’s website at www.parentsforgreatiowaschools.com to sign a petition to urge Iowa lawmakers to invest in public schools again. You can also follow the group on Facebook at Facebook.com/ParentsforGreatIowaSchools.
The group said they are concerned about the effects of underfunding Iowa’s public schools. Last month, school leaders told lawmakers that another round of stagnant state funding would force them to raise class sizes, delay textbook purchases, cut back literacy efforts, and use old technology for another year.
Criminal Justice Reform Needed in Iowa
A variety of bipartisan groups have met and found there is a strong need for criminal justice reform. While each group is not necessarily advocating for the same type of change, they are hopeful the Legislature will work together to begin to address the problem this year.
Snapshot of Today’s Prisons
Today, there are just over 8,000 offenders in Iowa’s prisons, which is overcapacity by 11%. Another 31,000 offenders are in a community-based correctional facility (CBC), which supervises them as they transition their way back to being a productive member of society.
According to a Prison Forecast by the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning Division of the Iowa Department of Human Rights, if changes are not made Iowa law, the population of our prisons will increase to 10,000 by June of 2025.
Possible Legislative Changes
Changes to Iowa law that can have lasting and positive impacts could come from many different areas.
One change that the legislature should address is sealing juvenile records to keep them confidential rather than the juvenile having to proactively request confidentiality. If something is a public record, even for a short period of time, it can be captured in a data request and used over and over again, thus making it harder for that juvenile to lead a productive life as an adult.
Another possible area of change is sentences for low-risk offenders and making sure they receive an appropriate punishment that gives them the opportunity to change, but doesn’t punish them for so long that they do not care about rehabilitation. Having rehabilitation tools such as job training, housing once released, and other resources are vital for any offender to achieve successful reentry into society.
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To read the rest of my Statehouse News go to:http://iowahouse.org/StatehouseNews/2-5-16