Connecting to Those Impacted by Criminal Justice Policies

Right On Crime

By Elaine Ellerbe

On August 14th, 2017 the Face to Face Initiative was launched across the U.S.  Engaging in a wave of public activities that featured both Republican and Democratic governors and other elected officials, meetings were arranged for these policy leaders with people impacted by the criminal justice system in their respective states.  These individuals included offenders, returned citizens, victims of crime and law enforcement.

The launch included Governor Deal (R-GA) along with Governors Dannel Malloy (D-CT), Roy Cooper (D-NC), Eric Greitens (R-MO), Steve Bullock (D-MT), John Hickenlooper (D-C), Brian Sandoval (R-NV), Gary Herbert (R-UT) as well as Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R-WI) and Attorney General Mike DeWine (R-OH).

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, who has been a high-profile, vocal champion of criminal justice reforms, stated, “Fifteen years ago, the political landscape rang with calls to be tough on crime and misguidedly pushed policymakers to take a distant and hard line approach with respect to corrections and public safety policies. In essence, the threat of political damage caused elected leaders to overlook the human impact of criminal justice policy. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way.  I hope all policymakers join our efforts in using a more thoughtful approach to criminal justice policy that focuses not only on data and numbers, but also the people behind those numbers.”

Face to Face offers a list of suggested activities that policymakers can carry out to participate in the initiative. It will also provide potential action items for policymakers to consider based on information gathered from their interactions.

During the 2017 Louisiana Legislative session, legislators and policy makers met with a number of people affected by the criminal justice system to put a human face on the need for reforming Louisiana’s broken criminal justice system.  I am hopeful Louisiana will also embrace the Face to Face Initiative.

For more information about the Face to Face initiative, including ways policymakers can get involved, visit and follow #MeetFacetoFace on social media.  Face to Face is made possible with financial support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The initiative is sponsored by the National Reentry Resource Center and The Council of State Governments Justice Center in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), JustLeadershipUSA, and the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC).