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News Quiz: Test Your Knowledge On Meth Addiction In Iowa

Although the number of methamphetamine labs found in the state of Iowa has decreased, a recent report shows usage rates and the potency of meth available in Iowa have increased. Find out how meth can effect Iowa children and communities with this news quiz. IowaWatch will host two forums on Nov. 19 and 20 in Des Moines and Iowa City to show the IowaWatch documentary “Breaking the Cycle: Meth Addiction in the Heartland” and host a panel of experts. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT METH ADDICTION IN IOWA:
Breaking the Cycle: Meth Addiction in the Heartland
By: Katie Kuntz
An IowaWatch documentary: “Breaking the Cycle: Meth Addiction in the Heartland” examines the impact methamphetamine has on Iowa children raised in a home with a parent addicted to the drug.

Kent Sorenson, former Iowa state senator

Former Iowa State Senator Pleads Guilty to Accepting Money to Back Ron Paul

A former Iowa state senator has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he accepted money from the Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign to switch his endorsement from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who was also running for the GOP White House nomination. Kent Sorenson, of Milo, Iowa, has been at the center of accusations that he was paid for his endorsement, first by the Bachmann campaign and then by the Paul campaign, in late 2011. Sorenson switched his endorsement at the last moment before the Iowa caucuses in the 2012 race, but vehemently denied he had been paid to do so. Last year, OpenSecrets blog published emails alleged to be between Ron Paul campaign officials and representatives of Sorenson discussing Sorenson’s demands for payment. Later, audio recordings emerged in which Sorenson discussed how a Paul operative named Dimitri Kesari offered him a $25,000 check, written in the name of a jewelry shop owned by Kesari’s wife, to switch sides.

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Sex Offender Programming In Iowa Starts at Mount Pleasant

The programming hub for incarcerated sex offenders is at the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility. The medium security prison houses men and women, and specializes in treating male offenders with substance abuse problems and sex offenses. It always is filled to capacity, which caps at 250 for inmates in sex offender treatment, corrections officials said. All of Iowa’s prisons offer more generalized programs for inmates, including basic education, vocational and social skill building and work force development. Once a year, many of them hold a three-day program called the Alternatives to Violence Project, a non-profit aimed at providing non-violence training.

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Iowa Preparing For Huge Increase In Sex Offenders Entering Probation, Parole

The number of sex offenders receiving treatment while living outside of prison walls on parole in Iowa towns is expected to almost double in two years. The dramatic increase is adding pressure for financial resources and people to supervise sex offenders on parole, a joint IowaWatch and Gazette investigation revealed.

Randy Cole demonstrates how a Dept of Corrections GPS tracking bracelet is worn at the Sixth Judicial District's Johnson County Office in Coralville on Aug. 11, 2014.

Electronic Monitoring Changes For Sex Offenders Wearing Them

A 2006 state law requiring a minimum five years of electronic monitoring for people convicted of certain crimes against minors, including sexually violent crimes, was changed in 2009. In the change, Iowa dropped a five-year requirement and gave judges discretion over what the punishment should be.

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Iowa’s Texting-While-Driving Ban Not Reducing Crashes, Hard To Enforce

Iowa’s law banning texting while driving is failing to reduce road crashes, and officers seldom enforce it because of legal restrictions, an IowaWatch investigation shows. Crash history reports from the Iowa Department of Transportation show that since the Iowa Legislature enacted it in July 2011, the law has not decreased cell-phone related crashes.