Today, R Street Institute criminal justice director Arthur Rizer joined Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ FOCUS (Fueling Ongoing Collaboration and Uncovering Solutions) Committee on Criminal Justice Reform. He also provided an overview of policing reforms in other states, focused on reducing racial disparities in policing.

“I am excited to lend my expertise to Governor Reynolds and the FOCUS Committees’ ongoing work to fix policing and criminal justice issues in Iowa,” said Rizer.

During his presentation to the committee, Rizer emphasized the importance of improving and expanding demographic data collection throughout the criminal justice process, banning pretextual stops that often serve as cover for racial profiling, making policing policies public and including communities of color in policy dialogues, and enhancing the use of alternatives to arrest, among other key reforms.

The FOCUS committee was launched in late 2019 and was originally comprised of 14 members representing communities of color, law enforcement, corrections and victims of crime. The committee is chaired by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and also includes:

  • Betty Andrews, President, Iowa-Nebraska NAACP
  • Beth Skinner, Director, Department of Corrections
  • Helen Miller, Chair, Board of Parole
  • Stephan Bayens, Commissioner, Department of Public Safety
  • Judy Bradshaw, Director, Iowa Law Enforcement Academy
  • Bruce Vander Sanden, Director, Department of Correctional Services, 6th Judicial District
  • Alfonso Perez, Member, Commission of Latino Affairs
  • John Koufos, National Director, Reentry Initiatives
  • Janelle Melohn, Crime Victims Assistance Division Director, Office of the AG
  • Jennifer Miller, Marshall County Attorney
  • Darius Potts, Ankeny Police Chief
  • Tim Lane, Scott County Sheriff
  • Izaah Knox, Executive Director, Urban Dreams

Image credit:  Hans-Joerg Nisch