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:


February 22, 2017

FAMM Testimony to Iowa House Judiciary Committee on HF 377

Testimony of Molly Gill Director of Federal Legislative Affairs, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) Submitted to the Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee Considering HF 377 February 22, 2017 Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today regarding HF 377, an important sentencing reform bill that would save money, increase fairness, and protect… Read more »


February 21, 2017

HF 377: A Safe, Smart, Cost-Saving Way to Reform Iowa Sentencing Laws

HF 377 Sponsor: Rep. Zach Nunn (R, District 30)   Summary of Sections: Sections 1, 2, and 3: These sections narrow the disparity between the drug weights for crack and powder cocaine drug trafficking offenses in section 124.401. The current quantities create a disparate ratio of 10-to-1. The bill enhances fairness by changing that ratio… Read more »


February 8, 2017

Shirley Schmitt: “She Never Sold a Single Ounce for Profit”

Shirley is serving a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for her role in a methamphetamine conspiracy – which never sold a single ounce of the drug for profit and was only created to feed her addiction.   For more than 50 years, Shirley Schmitt lived a quiet, serene life, raising her daughter and training horses on an… Read more »


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 »