Iowa

In January of 2016, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said he was open to criminal justice and sentencing reform. His announcement came a few months after a couple of Iowa lawmakers urged the state to reconsider the state’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

FAMM was active on the ground in the state of Iowa as part of an effort to persuade U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to support federal sentencing reform. In the past several months, FAMM has spent time in Des Moines meeting with state lawmakers and gaging their appetite for reform. After educating lawmakers and the governor’s office, FAMM was proud to see the Iowa legislature pass HF 2064. This bill allows certain low-level drug offenders to become parole eligible after serving half of the mandatory minimum sentence currently required by law. The bill also makes some currently incarcerated drug offenders eligible for parole. The measure, approved 98-0 by the Iowa House of Representatives and 28-19 by the Iowa Senate, is expected to reduce sentences for hundreds of nonviolent drug offenders and is estimated to save more than $700,000 over the next fiscal year. The bill was signed into law by Governor Branstad on Thursday, May 12. FAMM is excited to see Iowa well on its way to a smarter and more effective criminal justice system.

How You Can Advocate for Sentencing Reform in Your State

You can do several things to work toward reforming your state’s sentencing laws – go to our get involved page to find out how.

Encourage your state lawmakers to support mandatory minimum sentencing reform. Be sure to connect with FAMM and other sentencing reformers on Facebook, Twitter, and by signing up for our email list.

Sentencing/Criminal Justice Reform Groups in this State:


December 19, 2016

Iowan Mandy Martinson Comes Home for the Holidays!

On December 2, 2016, long-time FAMM supporter Mandy Martinson returned home to Iowa after receiving a commutation from President Barack Obama. NBC News was there to capture her homecoming, which you can watch and read about below. Mandy served 12 years of a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence for a low-level drug offense, and she is… Read more »


June 17, 2016

A Father’s Day Plea From Bill Martinson

This Father’s Day will be my 12th in a row without my daughter, Mandy. She’s been in federal prison for the last 12 years, serving a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence. She dated a drug dealer for a month and got punished for everything he did. Watch her story below: The years without Mandy here have… Read more »


June 1, 2016

Iowa Court Rejects Life Without Parole for Juveniles

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in a split decision Friday that sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole is unconstitutional because it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. In a 4-to-3 decision, Justice Brent Appel wrote that juvenile character is “a work in progress” and that courts should not preclude the chance for juvenile… Read more »


May 13, 2016

Iowa Governor Branstad Signs Sentencing Reform Bill

(Des Moines Register) — Nearly 1,000 nonviolent drug offenders will be eligible for early release from Iowa prisons over the next five years as part of a sentencing reform bill that Gov. Terry Branstad signed into law Thursday. House File 2064, which takes effect July 1, allows the Iowa Board of Parole to release nonviolent drug… Read more »