October 20, 2015

IowaWatch Connection Podcast: Criminal Justice Reform

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Lyle Muller/IowaWatch

Some are advocating major changes in how we handle crime and criminals. But is that being soft on crime, or smart on crime?

“We’ve got to back off of these mandatory minimums and let judges judge again. If somebody has a small amount of illegal drugs on them, it’s not the quantity of the drugs that should ultimately determine (the sentence) it’s the context — was this person a part of an operation that was trying to sell these drugs, are they an addict, was their boyfriend beating them up and making them do it — those things should matter to our system,” said Van Jones, founder of Dream Corps.

He said long prison terms can snowball, creating additional challenges down the road, as it impacts families and the ability of those convicted to get get jobs and participate in society after release.

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