Iowa parole officers are bracing for more work once the across-the-board budget cuts hit. The number of convicts committing serious enough parole violations to be sent back to prison has been declining — but the director of parole officers in one of the state’s largest judicial districts is afraid those numbers will go back up.
Sally Kreamer manages parole and probation officers in the 5th Judicial District which covers 16 counties in south-central Iowa. She says layoffs mean higher caseloads and less time with each client.
She says you have a victim call or you have an offender that has mental health issues and all of sudden that one client took half the day or longer and you have 110, 120 people on your caseload. Kreamer says it’s just very difficult to triage everything that needs to get done. Kreamer says the budget cuts make it tougher on the parole officers.
Kreamer says it’s a stressful job anyway as they work with some high-risk offenders who have a lot of needs and they work with their families and try to find them employment in a tough job market. Kreamer says without intense supervision, some offenders will wind up back behind bars. She says that’s a no-win situation for the state.