On June 2, 2022, the Iowa Oversight Committee on Justice Reinvestment met for the second time to review the results of a comprehensive assessment of the state’s community-based corrections (CBC) system conducted by the CSG Justice Center.
CSG Justice Center staff have supported the state in assessing changes implemented in response to the pandemic by criminal justice stakeholders across Iowa. This work is part of the state’s use of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) approach, which launched in February 2022. JRI is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance and The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Key findings from the assessment in Iowa include the following:
- Since March 2020, more than half of CBC cases have closed successfully.
- Since March 2020, revocations have decreased substantially, and the use of revocations has focused more on addressing public safety concerns.
- Supervision violations decreased after March 2020, with alcohol/drug and non-public safety threat violations decreasing the most.
- Iowa lacks enough community-based behavioral health treatment providers to meet the needs of the CBC population.
- Long waiting lists inhibit CBC officers’ abilities to support clients experiencing a mental health crisis.
- CBC officers report that many clients do not have funds to pay for treatment services or find affordable housing.
- CBC clients convicted of a sexual offense have trouble accessing housing and treatment services.
- Transportation is a significant barrier for clients to access services, especially in rural areas.
Next, CSG Justice Center staff will conduct a racial disproportionality analysis of the CBC population in addition to continued data analysis and stakeholder engagement efforts to answer the following questions:
- Did changes that were implemented in March 2020 have a positive, negative, or neutral impact on public safety and CBC operations?
- Should Iowa continue and/or enhance these new procedures to increase officers’ ability to successfully supervise individuals in the community?
- Do the Iowa Department of Corrections and CBC need any specific resources to successfully supervise individuals in the community?
- What data-driven recommendations can maximize potential benefits and resources to improve success for clients in the community?
Final analysis and recommendations will be delivered by the CSG Justice Center to the Oversight Committee for review in October 2022.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2019-ZB-BX-K002 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
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