Iowa legislators should limit the number of sex offenders subject to lifetime supervision, focusing the state’s scarce resources on the highest-risk offenders, a state panel recommended this week, reports the Des Moines Register. The move comes after a Register probe in July showed Iowa’s experiment with lifetime monitoring of sex offenders would cost at the minimum about $168 million over the next 20 years.
Iowa’s Sex Offender Research Council also advocated greater prevention efforts and additional research on how best to monitor offenders. Steve Scott of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa said sex-abuse prevention groups like his will be lucky to keep what state funding they have this year. One 2006 law change required most sex offenders to serve “special sentences” after completing their original prison or probation sentences. The law was intended to protect Iowa children from sexual predators, who previously could walk out of prison after serving their time with few restrictions. Since then, the number of offenders under 10-year and lifetime monitoring has grown from six in 2007 to 113 by September last year. By 2019, the number under 10-year supervision is expected to grow to 962, while those under lifetime probation will grow to 954.