The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that the state is not wrongfully detaining sex offenders by delaying the treatment they must complete to be considered for parole.

The opinion issued Tuesday states that the Iowa Department of Corrections has acted reasonably in attempting to address the fact there are too many sex offenders in the system to provide treatment on a timely basis. Because of these reasonable efforts, the court said, the state is not violating the constitutional rights of the seven Newton Correctional Facility inmates who initiated the case.

The inmates who sued over the delays in treatment, the court said, are “challenging what they believe to be a Catch-22 in Iowa’s prison system: To be considered meaningfully for parole, these inmates need to have completed the sex offender treatment program (SOTP). But because of limits on resources, this treatment has tended to be available only as the inmate nears his tentative discharge date. The inmates contend, among other things, that this circumstance violates their constitutional right to due process.”


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