Iowa’s penal system topic of discussion at Rotary
After some fine dining at Elmwood Country Club, Dennis Drager rang the bell to get the May 16 Marshalltown Rotary meeting under way. John Fink led in prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. Carol Hibbs, Mark Osmundson, Mary Giese and Bob Moore introduced guests. Guests included Unity Point President Dustin Wright, Lance Horbach and Ken Huge. Huge announced the mall will be kicking off a marketplace this week every Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. through October. Children’s activities and entertainment will compliment the already 30 vendors on board. He is excited about the lineup for this showcase.
Arlene Selby was asked to come forward to be recognized. Selby has been playing the piano for Rotary since 1994. The club was using Dejardin Hall at Marshalltown Community College as a temporary meeting place and Selby was teaching across the hall. She shared bits of her life teaching and sharing her gift of music. Selby expressed her joy in listening each week to what Rotarians were up to. She suggested that Rotarians don’t give themselves enough credit in their quest for Service Above Self. This motto has inspired her to initiate her own project of making dresses for children in Africa and noted she spends a lot of time these days in her music room and sewing room. On behalf of the membership, Jerry Stephens and Bruce Wirin bestowed Selby as an honorary member of the Marshalltown Rotary Club in appreciation for her sharing of her musical gift over the years.
Jeff Vance then introduced Joel McAnulty, assistant director with the Department of Correctional Services, 2nd Judicial District. McAnulty is a University of Northern Iowa graduate who lives in rural Marshalltown. His area of expertise is the more community-based services of probation, parole and work release. He began with some statistics from the State Department of Corrections. Iowa houses 8,400 inmates in its prisons. It provides the aforementioned community-based services to 3-4 times that many. The cost per day is $90 for inmates versus $4.60 for the services in his realm. The mission of his department can be boiled down to public safety through risk reduction, and McAnulty made it clear that when it comes to risk it is not a level playing field. His crew makes a risk assessment on each individual to match with the appropriate service. They use data and research to be effective. Of the 3,000 offenders that this district serves, 560 are categorized as high-risk. The staff manages their resources around the lower, moderate and high risk categories. During the Q & A, McAnulty said that the situations they face today, such as home visits, are less predictable and more dangerous than 20 years ago. Also, mental health issues have increased exponentially.
Rotary’s founder, Paul Harris, believed that serving humanity is “the most worthwhile thing a person can do.” Being a part of Rotary is a great opportunity to make that happen.