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House increases penalties on crimes against minors

Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 9:40 a.m. CDT

The Iowa House passed legislation aimed at individuals who harm children. House File 2253 increases penalties for kidnapping a child and ends the ability of criminals to earn credit to reduce the time they serve in prison for certain crimes against children.

Under current law, a person can be convicted of kidnapping in the second degree if they hold the victim for ransom or if they are armed with a dangerous weapon during the kidnapping. It is considered a class “B” felony, meaning a person convicted of this crime could serve up to 25 years in prison and at minimum must serve 70 percent of their prison sentence.

House File 2253 would expand the charge of kidnapping in the second degree to include cases where the person kidnapped is 15 or younger. Expanding this charge will keep those who seek to harm children in prison for a substantial amount of time.

When a person is sentenced to prison, they normally do not serve the entire sentence behind bars. There are two sentence categories relating to the accrual of earned time. If prisoners exhibit good behavior and attend required programs they can reduce their sentence substantially.

House File 2253 ends the accrual of earned time for certain offenses that are directed at children. If HF 2253 becomes law, individuals convicted of the following crimes would not be eligible to accumulate earned time if the victim of the offense was 15 or younger; murder in the second degree, attempt to commit murder, sexual abuse in the first, second and third degree, lascivious acts with a child, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, sexual exploitation by a counselor, therapist or school employee, kidnapping in the second and third degree, human trafficking and sexual exploitation of a minor.

Under HF 2253, inmates would serve their full sentence for any of the above listed crimes, before they would serve a sentence for any other crime they were convicted of.

Expanding the charge of kidnapping in the second degree and ending the accumulation of earned time for certain offenses against children, insures that people who seek to harm children will remain in prison for their complete sentence. House File 2253 has been sent to the Senate for their consideration.

Please join me at one of my legislative coffees during the course of the 2014 legislative session.

Legislative Forum Events

• Friday, March 28

Noon – Lakeside Casino in Osceola

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