State policy makers from across the country met in Des Moines Friday to discuss ways to avoid spending more money on prisons. Iowa Senate President Mary Kramer hosted the symposium of lawmakers and corrections officials. Kramer, a republican, says Iowa’s expanding prison population spurred her to focus in on sentencing reform. Kramer says before lawmakers can reduce prison stays for non-violent offenders, they have to have other corrections tools in place.Some democrats have accused republicans of lacking the political will to enact sentencing reform. Kramer says republicans are just trying to follow the call of the public to keep them safe.An Oklahoma state senator attending the symposium says they’ve faced the same space crunch. Senator Cal Hobson, a democrat, says he pushed sentencing reform too quickly.Hobson says while Iowa is right to move slowly, the state needs to get the process rolling. Senator Kramer says she expects some legislation to pass this session that will expand the number of beds or space in Iowa’s community-based corrections facilities.
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