As Iowa’s prison population grows larger – and, on the average, older – state officials are considering setting free more offenders so they won’t have to build more prisons. With beds for seven-thousand and prisons that hold nearly 86-hundred inmates, the state’s prisons have been about 20-percent over capacity for at least a year now. Texas state representative Ray Allen came to Des Moines this week to tell the lawmakers one way to save money is to cut the number of prisoners with serious health problems. The Supreme Court has declared it’s the state’s obligation to provide an “adequate standard of medical care” for inmates, though he notes “law-abiding citizens” may or may not have health care. The Texas lawmaker says Iowa set the stage for the problem when it adopted longer prison sentences in the early nineties. He says Texas had the same problem and decided to let older, sicker inmates out of prison on supervised parole.If they’re on parole or some kind of supervised release, they’re eligible to apply for Medicare or Medicaid and have the federal government pay their healthcare costs, and there’s a 2-to-1 state match that’ll save the state money that way. Allen says the ex-offenders can live in an inmate-only nursing home that’s run like a halfway house. Iowa state senator David Miller, a republican from Fairfield, says Miller says he’s seen some of the older inmates, and after 40 years they’ve had plenty of time to regret their crime. Miller says while society may want revenge or punishment, in some cases he thinks people could be rehabilitated. Miller nobody wants to be ‘soft on crime” but the state could save a lot of money with so-called medical releases, or some kind of supervised parole. Senator Miller says typically, Iowa’s considered shorter sentences or community programs for first-time offenders, but another solution may be to reconsider sentences for offenders growing old behind bars.
You are here: / / More paroles could be answer to full prisons