Iowa parole officers are bracing for a dramatic increase in the number of sex offenders who’re under supervision after being released from prison. In 2005, the Iowa Legislature voted to require lifetime supervision for the most dangerous sex offenders and ten years of parole for those who commit lesser sex crimes. Four years later, some of those convicted under the 2005 law are being released from prison.
Sally Kreamer is director of the Department of Correctional Services for the Eighth Judicial District in southeast Iowa. She says parole officers will keep closer tabs on these sex offenders "If we don’t feel like we know this client very well, we’re not going to take the risk and not put them on electronic monitoring or not supervise them at a high level in the beginning…because it’s one thing if you have somebody write another bad check," she says.
"It’s another thing if you have somebody who goes out and hurts a child." Ron Mullen, superintendent of the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility, says it’ll mean higher case loads for parole officers, too. "I’ve told many of them, ‘Get braced for the new type of offender you’re going to be supervising because the rapist or another individual that may have discharged their sentence in prison and walked away, you’re going to have them for the rest of their life,’" he says.
"That is a different type of offender than we’re used to." A parole officer typically supervises between seven-hundred and eight-hundred people, but that could jump to 2,400 within five years if the state does not hire more parole officers. Mullen had been assistant director of field services in the Eighth Judicial District in southeast Iowa before his appointment as superintendent of the state prison facility in Mount Pleasant.