Criminal Justice Reform
Many changes are taking place and more are needed to make Minnesota’s criminal justice system even more of a leader in diverting people from prison into treatment and successfully launching people into new, stable, and productive lives.
a record of results
- Diane has supported Minnesota’s nationally low rate of incarceration and use instead of community corrections and treatment, probation and parole for people who don’t pose a high safety risk to the community. It’s shown to reduce recidivism.
- Diane has supported the creation and expansion of the specialty court system for mental health, drug violations, and veterans. These courts get the offender into appropriate treatment and hold them accountable (sometimes on a weekly basis with drug testing and reporting) for following through on treatment adherence. Failure means going to prison. She’s sat in on these courts and watched as failures were sent off and graduates with established sobriety or mental health were celebrated. Their success and support for transition is impressive.
- Diane helped pass “ban the box” which gives people with a criminal record a better chance to secure needed employment. She has been an author on voting rights restoration.
- Diane’s supported the effort now studying the granting of “ time off” for good behavior for persons on probation.
- Diane authored and secured a major increase in jury duty pay, but it’s still too low. Serving our state shouldn’t cause financial hardship for those of modest means.
- Diane supported the state funding that now assures all law enforcement officers are trained in de-escalation and overcoming implicit bias.
- Diane has supported many investments in prevention to address violence and to use restorative justice approaches, especially with juveniles.
- Diane secured the first state funds for sexual assault prevention and has been a strong supporter of efforts to reduce domestic abuse.
- Diane helped pass the ability of first responders to carry the antidote to Opioid overdoses and this has been proven to save many lives as fast action is needed as basic functions close down.
More remains to be done
Mental health needs stronger support in prevention, early identification and treatment of those picked up for criminal or civil violations caused by their mental health condition. We should not criminalize a treatable health condition but we need to protect the public when commitment is needed for safety and appropriate treatment.
Too many productive lives are lost and crimes committed based on chemical dependency whether drug abuse or alcohol. Prevention, early intervention and treatment access all need strong support. Opioids, heroin, meth and cocaine addiction needs prevention and quick and effective response.
Minnesota should thoughtfully approve adult use of marijuana that reflects learning from the experiences of states who have already had good and bad experiences in rolling this out. The presence of large amounts of cash due to the federal ban on banking or credit card use related to this drug has created public safety issues in some areas. Criminals love cash.
The nation leading amount of sex offenders held for unusually long times in “treatment” needs a stronger policy framework. A significant number are persons with developmental disabilities who only did what was done earlier to them. They should not be housed with other predatory populations.
Diane is an author on a variety of gun safety bills and supports universal background checks, gun protection orders that allow judges to remove guns from persons at risk of harming themselves or others, reducing access to the military style weapons shown to be devastating when misused, banning silencers and promoting safe storage.
All counties, not just the urban ones, should have to provide half way houses, housing options, employment supports and treatment aftercare for the offenders from their communities. It is not fair to have the burden of creating, funding and overseeing these resources shifted to Hennepin and Ramsey when the offender has no history there. There is some evidence that rehabilitation is better achieved when one has access to family and other social supports close by.