PRISON POPULATION: Inmate Numbers Rising

A new study suggests Iowa’s prison population is growing.

The state`s division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning predicts Iowa will have 1,000 more people incarcerated in the next 10 years.

The report indicated the increase in inmates is not necessarily due to an increase in crime. It actually has more to do with the state enforcing mandatory minimum sentences.

“As new inmates come in, the old ones aren’t leaving. Because they’re there on long sentences,” said Division Administrator Paul Stageberg.

Stageberg said the mandatory minimums use a one-size fits all approach and can be expensive.

As a result, the elderly population increases and costs the state even more money.

“Inmates tend to have serious medical issues. You’re talking about a population that typically may have a drug or alcohol problem. They haven’t necessarily taken good care of themselves,” Stageberg said.

Caring for inmates over the age of 50 costs about twice as much as the average inmate, according to Stageberg.

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