How much has the mass incarceration trend affected Iowa? More than you might think.
When a criminal defendant's fingerprints are at issue, the stakes are high. The person has been accused of a crime, and those fingerprints could theoretically place them at the crime scene or otherwise indicate their involvement. People go to prison in cases where a matching fingerprint is the primary evidence.
Prosecutors have a legal and ethical duty not to knowingly allow perjury. If a prosecutor learns that a witness -- even a police officer -- in one of their cases lied on the stand, that prosecutor is required to notify the judge and attempt to correct the matter.
The violent crime rate in the U.S. hit a high in approximately 1990 and then began to taper off. That trend continued until 2015 and 2016, when the violent crime rate rose slightly. In 2017 and 2018, however, the violent crime rate resumed its downward trend. Now, the violent crime rate is half of what it was in the early 90s.
It's a tale as old as time. Someone is arrested and held in jail before trial. Naturally, they're desperate for a friendly face or a caring voice. They spill their guts to their new friend, giving details of the crime. That "friend" contacts the prosecution offering to turn over those details in exchange for a break on their own sentence.
Recently, the libertarian Reason magazine called attention to Linn County. The Sheriff's Office there has just purchased a BearCat G2 armored vehicle for $297,061. They apparently got the money for the military vehicle through civil asset forfeiture.
In many criminal cases, the police rely on the testimony of an eyewitness to the crime. Eyewitnesses may have crucial information about what happened, of course. They are also frequently used to identify a suspect. These identifications are typically done by having the eyewitness look at a lineup or an array of photographs.
Well over 1 million excited people cross through the gates of the Iowa State Fair every August. It's a time to celebrate the state's culture, get some delicious food and drink and check out the variety of entertainment.
When someone is charged with a crime, bail is determined in part based on a risk assessment. The court decides whether the defendant, if allowed to go free, will fail to appear for trial or will commit another crime.
The idea of parole and probation was to reduce the number of people in prison, but states are spending millions on incarcerating people for technical violations of their supervision agreements. In Iowa, for example, 40% of the prison population is made up of parole and probation violators. And, 56% of all new prison admissions are for supervision violations -- 22% of them technical violations.