Iowa court shortens prison terms for many juvenile felons

Prison cell photo from ThinkStock

Prison cell photo from ThinkStock

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As many as 150 juveniles in Iowa prisons for felonies including kidnapping and attempted murder will get their sentences shortened by years as a result of an Iowa Supreme Court decision.

The court ruled Friday, Nov. 18, that juveniles convicted of forcible felonies who had been resentenced from mandatory minimum terms to sentences with a set period of years should be given credit for good behavior at a much faster pace.

It’s tied to a 2014 decision in which the court struck down as unconstitutional mandatory minimum sentences for juveniles.

Inmates serving mandatory minimum sentences for forcible felonies must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence even when time is credited for good behavior.

The court’s ruling means juveniles who can’t serve mandatory sentences get accelerated time for good behavior and can get out after serving 45 percent of their original sentence.

For example, a juvenile sentenced to 10 years for robbery could be released after 4½ years, while an adult must serve 8½ years.