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I co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative to put the problem of mass incarceration — and the perverse incentives that fuel it — on the national agenda. Over the last 16 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and protected the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. Our reports untangle the statistics and recruit new allies.

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—Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate

Keynote address at Iowa Justice Summit

by Peter Wagner, August 31, 2015

On Friday, I gave the keynote address at the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP‘s third annual Iowa Summit on Justice & Disparities, which brought together leaders such as Governor Terry Branstad, state decision makers, law enforcement, and reform advocates to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the criminal justice system in Iowa.

As a guide for attendees who want more information, I wanted to share some links to the published research I discussed and summaries of some of the unpublished work that I mentioned in my talk.

I addressed the globally unprecedented incarceration boom in the U.S. and Iowa:

I also addressed how even our economic, legal and cultural systems are built upon the assumption of mass incarceration to the detriment of people on both sides of prison walls:

During the Q&A, there were questions about:

And after my talk, I have had several conversations with participants about what the Prison Policy Initiative knows about the burgeoning video visitation industry that often bans in-person jail visits in favor of expensive computer chats nationwide and in Iowa. While more research in Iowa is needed, we know that these Iowa counties have adopted video visitation in some form:

  • Buena Vista County
  • Cerro Gordo County
  • Des Moines County, which contracts with Lattice and charges $20 for a 40-minute visit
  • Hardin County, which contracts with HomeWAV
  • Iowa County
  • Johnson County
  • Polk County, which contracts with iWebVisit.com
  • Pottawattamie County, which contracts with Securus
  • Scott County
  • Wapello County, which has replaced family in-person visits with video visits
  • Woodbury County, which contracts with Securus

One exciting and immediate development from the Summit is that Governor Branstad has added telephone charges to his Working Group on Justice Policy Reform’s priorities.

If you are interested in bringing the Prison Policy Initiative to you, see our speakers page.

One Response

  1. Iowa Governor pledges to address cost of prison and jail phone calls | Prison Policy Initiative says, 3 months, 4 weeks after publication:

    […] August, I gave the keynote address at the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP’s Iowa Summit on Justice & Disparities and a major topic was […]

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