The head of Iowa’s corrections system says the state may have to build another prison. Iowa Corrections Department director Kip Kautzky says the number of inmates in Iowa prisons shot up eight percent in the past fiscal year, and that’s bad news. He says if that rate of growth continues there’s no question they’ll have to build a new prison. Kautzky says it takes two years to build a prison.Iowa’s violent crime rate is dropping, but the state’s prisons are bulging at 118 percent of capacity. Kautzky says that’s because drug convictions keep increasing. If Iowa legislators and the Governor do NOT want to build another state prison, Kautzky says they might consider other ways to punish drug offenders.But Republican legislators who control the Iowa House and Senate refuse to reduce penalties for any criminal, especially a drug user or seller. He says if that continues, they’ll have to find more places to put prisoners.Kautzky estimates it’d cost the state about 38 million dollars to build a new prison — and 18 million dollars every year afterwards to run it. Kautzky will talk about the situation this morning when the Iowa Board of Corrections convenes in Des Moines.
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