Branstad signs law expected to reduce prison time for drug offenders

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Gov. Terry Branstad

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has signed a bill into law that is expected to reduce prison time for inmates convicted of certain drug offenses.

Branstad signed the bill Thursday. It was passed in the House and Senate this legislative session.

The legislation will allow certain non-violent drug offenders in Iowa to be eligible for parole after they serve at least half of their mandatory minimum sentence. It will also give judges more discretion in sentencing for crimes like robbery.

The law also adds a mandatory minimum sentence for a person convicted of child endangerment resulting in death. Previously, such a person was automatically eligible for parole.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency says the law is expected to reduce the disproportionate number of minorities in Iowa’s criminal justice system.