The number of people convicted in Iowa for sex crimes has grown for each of the last five years, driving up the growing cost to taxpayers of monitoring and imprisonment, reports the Des Moines Register. A state report shows prisons are housing sex offenders for longer periods and parole caseloads are growing significantly. By 2021, some 2,600 sex offenders are expected to be serving “special sentences” under a stringent state law passed in 2005, meaning they will be supervised after their prison release for 10 years or life depending on the seriousness of their crimes.
“The special sentence, particularly lifetime supervision, will increase the parole caseload by 78 percent in 10 years,” says a draft report from Iowa's Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning found. The additional cost of monitoring the offenders will total at least $34.54 million during that span. The Iowa Sex Offender Research Council has urged state leaders to explore more effective and less expensive ways of monitoring sex offenders. “We're trying to figure out policy-wise what makes the most sense to do now,” said Sally Kreamer, who heads the 5th Judicial District correctional services. “Caseloads are only going to get larger and larger. If we don't figure out some strategy soon, I'll have to come back to my board and say, 'What is it that you don't want us to do anymore?' “