Since the initiative’s launch late last year, a bipartisan group of 13 governors—7 Republicans, 6 Democrats—have participated in Face to Face events.
During their visit, Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg met with inmates participating in Iowa’s largest apprenticeship program, in addition to leading a roundtable discussion with many of the program’s stakeholders and local business leaders where they discussed the importance of providing reentry services and employment opportunities for those being released from prisons and jails.
Wetzel’s remarks set the tone for the meeting, which was aimed at presenting officials in each state with a detailed analysis of their crime issues, including trends in arrests, recidivism and behavioral health, and help them come up with evidence-based solutions.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, on Aug. 16, discussed mental health treatment and “second chances” during a tour of a women’s correctional facility in Denver, where he had the opportunity to #MeetFacetoFace with corrections officers and the people incarcerated there. “Prisoners are often forgotten … out of sight out of mind,” Gov. Hickenlooper said. “I think there are better ways of dealing with their lives than just locking them up in a box.”
Last week Gov. Steve Bullock visited the program as part of an initiative called Face to Face, organized by the National Reentry Resource Center and The Council of State Governments Justice Center.
The participation of both Republican and Democratic governors reflects the fact that criminal justice reform has become a rare bipartisan issue. And when it comes to criminal justice, the power for change lies with states and localities.
As part of a new initiative, eight governors agreed to meet with inmates, crime victims and corrections staff to better understand how their criminal justice policies impact people.
Launched on Monday, Aug. 14, Face to Face—an initiative sponsored by the National Reentry Resource Center and The Council of State Governments Justice Center in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, JustLeadershipUSA, and the National Center for Victims of Crime—challenges all elected officials to participate in a series of public activities through which they can interact with people who are in prison or jail, corrections officers, victims of crime, and others who have firsthand experience with the correctional system.
Trevor VanPatten often thinks about how one small hitch in his daily routine could have changed the rest of his life. If he had caught just one more red light on his way home that summer evening in 2003, or if he fumbled to get his key in the front door, his father would’ve had time to pull the trigger and end his own life.
With the help of a U.S. Justice Department grant, the CSG Justice Center is arranging for governors and other top officials in states, where most criminal justice policy originates, to meet with inmates, correctional staff members and crime victims.