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Gov. Kim Reynolds seeks solutions

Plans major push for criminal justice system reforms

All across America there is a realization that our nation’s criminal justice system needs major changes.

Preventing crimes is a never-ending struggle. When misdeeds occur, ensuring the fair treatment in the law enforcement and judicial systems of individuals accused of wrong-doing remains a challenge. Too often, equal justice for all remains a goal that is inadequately achieved. For many of those people who are incarcerated, part of the intent is to make sure that the time they spend in prison contributes positively toward them being productive and law-abiding once they are back in our communities. Too often that outcome isn’t achieved.

Gov. Kim Reynolds is determined bring about improvements in Iowa’s criminal justice system. That’s why she has created an advisory body to help her develop a reform agenda. In October she announced the formation of the Governor’s FOCUS Committee on Criminal Justice Reform. FOCUS in an acronym for Fueling Ongoing Collaboration and Uncovering Solutions.

“Iowans recognize the power of redemption and second chances, which is why I have made criminal justice reform a key priority for my administration,” Reynolds said when she announced this committee. The governor stressed that she is determined to reduce recidivism and eliminate barriers that inhibit the successful return of prisoners to Iowa’s communities.

Early this month, the governor announced her appointment of 14 individuals to this new committee, which is being chaired by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg.

“This diverse group of stakeholders will help us take our criminal justice reform efforts to the next level and build on our past success,” Reynolds said.

This exceptional group includes individuals with great expertise and a wide array of perspectives. Fort Dodgers will be delighted to learn that one of them is former state Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge, who is now the chair of Iowa’s parole board.

During her time in the Legislature, Miller repeatedly demonstrated her ability to work collaboratively with lawmakers of both parties to find workable, bipartisan policy solutions. That can-do approach and an openness to dialogue will make her an outstanding contributor to this reform effort.

The Messenger commends the governor for her determination to make our criminal justice system work better. We look forward to the proposals that will be generated by her FOCUS Committee on Criminal Justice Reform. Having Helen Miller part of that undertaking gives us confidence that what this group produces will be thoughtful, high-quality recommendations.