DES MOINES | Dickinson County Attorney Jason Carlstrom of Spirit Lake is Gov. Terry Branstad’s choice to lead the Iowa Board of Parole.
Carlstrom, 41, who will be paid $95,000 annually, is slated to become chairman of the state parole board effective Sept. 3. He will replace Doris Kelley, a former state legislator from Waterloo, who will resume her responsibilities as the board’s vice chairwoman, according to the governor’s office.
“Jason will be a great leader for this board, and brings with him an unmatched ability and experience,” Branstad said in a statement. “I am excited to see the great work he will do on behalf of Iowans in his new role of service.”
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Prior to his election as Dickinson County attorney, Carlstrom he served as a private practice lawyer and was an adjunct professor at both Buena Vista University and Iowa Lakes Community College.
“I am excited to serve in this new position, as we look to find effective, efficient and streamlined operations,” Carlstrom said in a statement issued by the governor’s office. Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said Carlstrom plans to resign his county attorney post some time before Sept. 3 and move to the Des Moines metro area, where he will reside full time.
Turnover among Iowa Board of Parole members and state budget issues have affected the corrections system in recent years and were cited as factors in an upturn in prison population projections for the upcoming decade that were released last November. The governor is interested in improving efficiencies, making better use of electronic records and taking other steps to manage the balance between prison admissions and releases, Albrecht noted.
As of Tuesday, the inmate count at Iowa’s prisons stood at 8,345 in a system with a capacity for 7,209 prisoners – an overcrowding rate of 16 percent.