April 27, 2015

IowaWatch Connection: Sentencing Disparities

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Lyle Muller/IowaWatch

African Americans are just 3.3 percent of Iowa’s population, but they make up 26 percent of the state’s prison population. What’s behind criminal sentencing discrepancies, and what might be done about it?

“Over the years, I think too often, our political branch has decided the best thing to do about a problem is just to lock people up for a long time,” said John Shors, a Des Moines attorney.

Shors said it is easy for politicians to be tough on crime, and politically that may sound good, but it doesn’t mean it is in the best interest of the community or the state.

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