Iowa SC declines registrants’ petition; says constitutional rights not violated

By Erin Jordan . . . The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a district-court decision that the state is not wrongfully denying liberty to sex offenders who aren’t eligible for parole because they haven’t been able to get into a required treatment program in Iowa’s prison system.

The opinion filed Tuesday said the Iowa Department of Corrections has not violated the Constitutional rights of seven men held at the Newton Correctional Facility for sex-related crimes. Further, the prison system hasn’t intentionally withheld sex offender treatment to keep the men in prison longer, the court found.

“The problem is simply one of numbers: there are more male sex offenders in Iowa’s prison system than SOTP (sex offender treatment program) spots available,” Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

“The DOC has been actively addressing the need for sex offender treatment by increasing the number of classes and counselors. The existing waiting list, which prioritizes admission to treatment based on tentative discharge date, is a reasonable way to decide when an offender gets admitted to treatment.”

The petitioners — Kyle Cross, Anthony Gomez, Raymond LaBelle, James Hall, Kelly Sand, Shane Millett and Travis Bomgaars — are considered low-risk or low-moderate risk to reoffend, which means they qualify for one track of sex offender treatment. That track has a waiting list of more than 400 people, the court’s opinion states.

Read the remainder of the article here at The Gazette.

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2 Thoughts to “Iowa SC declines registrants’ petition; says constitutional rights not violated”

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  1. Tim in WI

    IMO these complaints are without merit and no different from the plaintiffs in Connecticut DPS in that respect. SOTP is a privilege and deemed necessary by the people of Iowa to be eligible for parole. Clearly no violation of right is had by the people’s prioritizing those inmates nearest to their parole dates. Naturally, those inmates approaching the mandatory release should get high priority. That means taking those with shorter sentences first into treatment. IMO, these men are more interested in the parole eligibility than the value of the treatment itself. Doing time is hard as time seems to move slowly but programming breaks up the monotony. There are other advantages too. Doing time in the treatment setting is far more social than regular lock up.

    I did appreciate the part of the complaint which highlighted differences between male and female offenders. Females generally tend to get shorter sentences for similar behavior, but this is a cultural distinction and not a constitutional question of equal protection or substantive due process. I happened to be locked up in WI at the time SOTP was emerging as a necessity. At that time ( early 1990s) there were many with long sentences ahead of themselves participating, some were lifers. From personal experience those with the long sentences were less likely to be to internally motivated to completely participate. This had the effect of individuals quitting the program when they were forced to admit and confront certain patterns or habit or something else uncomfortable to their psyche or ego. In the treatment setting it is either “all in” or ” all out.”

  2. H n H

    The State will ALWAYS twist, contort, manipulate and blow way out of proportion all offenses with the word “sex” attached to them. Once accused, you are at the mercy of God himself who has absolutely no power against these powers of corruption. The basic premise that at everyone’s heart lies good is tossed aside to secure a conviction. Only Nazi Germany could come so close in its corruption. It’s sick, and beyond repulsive that the system denies the wishes of those labeled victims or their families all in pursuit of what will benefit the State. This is totalitarianism at its core and will be the downfall of this country….. The loss of seeing people as people, not mindless robots. Touching a 15 yr Olds nipple for 1 second does not make a predator. Only the branding of the State by use of its registry can cause such lifelong shame. Having murder on ones record doesn’t even elicit this type of lifelong misery ( indefinite lifetime parole) and servitude to the State.