The reentry struggle: COVID makes path to productive life harder for ex-offenders

Rich Mathias knows firsthand the despair of being in prison — and the despair of being released. “Being in prison, especially during a holiday, is one of the worst things you can go through,” he told me this… Read More

Formerly incarcerated women in Iowa share the challenges they faced during re-entry

Lisa Smith felt like “nothing was done” to prepare her for re-entry following the six years she served at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. She also wasn’t prepared for the loneliness she would feel. “I was surrounded… Read More

Thousands on parole still can’t vote and one hurdle may be inability to pay restitution

The last time Marlon Graham Sr. was allowed to vote, he cast his vote for Barack Obama while he was living in Minnesota. But back in Des Moines where he’s lived most of his life, Graham is still… Read More

Rich Mathias, formerly of Burlington, plays role in restoration of Iowa felon voting rights

[Source: https://www.thehawkeye.com/news/20200806/rich-mathias-formerly-of-burlington-plays-role-in-restoration-of-iowa-felon-voting-rights The Hawk Eye, 6 August 2020, by Robin Opsahl Des Moines Register] IOWA CITY — Rich Mathias, formerly of Burlington, hoped the bumpy road to regaining his right to vote could help end Iowa’s status as… Read More

‘How we treat the formerly incarcerated doesn’t rank very high in the minds of most folks’: With COVID-19, the fight against recidivism in Iowa is even more urgent

[Source: https://littlevillagemag.com/prison-recidivism-covid-19-cedar-rapids/ Little Village Magazine, 17 June 2020, by Izabela Zaluska] Eddie Walker was released from prison last June after being incarcerated for 18 years for a robbery charge. Now living in Iowa City, Walker recalled the arduous… Read More

Governor Reynolds pushing to approve more felon voting rights applications prior to caucuses

[Sources: https://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Governor-Reynolds-pushing-to-approve-more-felon-voting-rights-applications-prior-to-caucuses-566856321.html KCRG, 9 January 2020, Aaron Scheinblum] With just a few weeks until Caucuses night, Gov. Kim Reynolds is continuing to push to restore voting rights for felons that have been released from prison. Pat Garrett, Communications… Read More

Iowa could soon be alone in the nation with felon voting ban — and become a bigger target for ban’s opponents

[Source: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/investigations/2019/11/26/iowa-may-alone-felon-voting-ban-kentucky-prepares-drop-practice/4127351002/ The Des Moines Register, 26 November 2019, by Jason Clayworth] Iowa is poised to become the only state that permanently bans felons from voting unless they receive gubernatorial approval — a distinction some opponents of the practice… Read More

Employers, community members experience what life is like for ex-offenders after prison

[Source: https://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Employers-community-members-experience-what-life-is-like-for-ex-offenders-after-prison-565127872.html KCRG, 18 November 2019, by Aaron Scheinblum] Low unemployment might be causing some businesses to give ex-offenders more opportunities in the job market, and in North Liberty, a nonprofit teamed up with the city to have… Read More

They Served Their Time and Now They’re Working to Win Back Right to Vote

[Source: https://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/2019/01/16/area-residents-convicted-felonies-seeking-restoration-right-vote/2584688002/ The Iowa City Press Citizen, 16 January 2019, by Hillary Ojeda] Doren Walker and Todd Williams, of Kalona and Mt. Pleasant respectively, lost their right to vote after being convicted of felonies in the state of… Read More

A Resource Guide for People Leaving Prison

[Source: “A Resource Guide for People Leaving Prison,” Iowa Public Radio, 27 December 2017, by Rob Dillard] A Johnson County-based nonprofit is joining with the Iowa Department of Corrections to produce an on-line resource guide for people who… Read More