Cat burglars and check bouncers would face less prison time than criminals who use weapons under sentencing reform plans which await House inspection. The proposal has cleared the Iowa Senate. Senator Andy McKean, a republican from Anamosa, calls the package an “incremental step” toward a more rational approach to sentencing criminals. For example, one of the bills would double the penalty for first degree burglary — that’s a crime in which a weapon was used, causing serious injury.McKean says judges don’t have much discretion now, but the bill would give them broad lattitude to come up with innovative punishment for non-violent burglars and forgers.But Representative Chuck Larson, a republican from Cedar Rapids, says he’s not interested in reducing the penalty for third-degree burglary.Larson is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. That Committee will consider the sentencing reform package next week — but Larson will NOT allow debate of the bill which reduces the penalty for third-degree burglary.Larson’s father is chairman of the Iowa Parole Board, the state board which considers and grants parole to inmates in Iowa prisons.
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