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Simpson College to host virtual program on criminal justice futures

Extensive panel of professionals to discuss hot-button topics surrounding recent legislative actions at federal, state and local levels


Simpson College (simpson.edu) will host a virtual program Friday, Nov. 20 examining legislative, law enforcement and community progress toward goals for improving criminal justice system outcomes. A distinguished panel of speakers will discuss issues from legislative, law enforcement and community backgrounds.

The program begins at 1 p.m. CST and is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required at simpson.zoom.us.

“Criminal Justice Futures” is co-hosted by the Simpson College department of sociology and criminal justice and the John C. Culver Public Policy Center. The program will address recent legislative actions at the federal, state, and local levels, including the bipartisan First Step Act, the restoration of felon voting rights in Iowa, and municipal ordinances on racial profiling.

"For nearly 50 years we have been educating criminal justice professionals in Iowa and beyond on the best current practices and future directions of the criminal justice field," said Carolyn Dallinger, Simpson College professor of social work and criminal justice and chair of the department of sociology and criminal justice. “The department hopes that the community, criminal justice professionals, students and alumni can continue this educational effort through this current conference.”

Chiefs of police from across Iowa will discuss improvements to law enforcement training and supervision, police-community relations and street-level enforcement practices and protocols. Leaders of community-based organizations will discuss advocacy initiatives addressing police accountability, racial disparities in enforcement and sentencing and re-entry programs for recently released offenders.
“The Culver Public Policy Center is excited to partner with the Simpson College department of sociology and criminal justice to explore future directions in criminal justice reform and police-community relations,” said Seth Andersen, director of the Culver Center. “All stakeholders are invited to join this discussion and share their ideas for building criminal justice systems that are fair, effective and responsive to community needs.”

Confirmed speakers for the Simpson College Criminal Justice Futures program include (by session):

Session One: Legislative Progress, 1-2 p.m. 

  • Rachel Wright – Crime, Criminal Justice, and National Security Counsel to Senator Grassley, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Jessica Reynolds – Iowa County Attorney Association
  • Mark Stringer – Executive Director, ACLU of Iowa
  • Josh Mandelbaum – Des Moines City Councilmember

Session Two: Law Enforcement Progress, 2-3 p.m.

  • Chief Darius Potts – Ankeny Police Dept.
  • Chief Chris Cole – Storm Lake Police Dept.

Session Three: Community Progress, 3-4 p.m.

  • Rob Johnson – Board Chair & Director of Partnerships, New Frontier Action Fund; Co-Chair, No Justice, No Peace PAC
  • Kameron Middlebrooks – Chair, Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission; President, NAACP – Des Moines Chapter
  • Andrea Muelhaupt – Parole Liaison Officer, Iowa Board of Parole
  • Rev. Beth Mary Harbaugh and Rev. Paul Witmer – Women at the Well, Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, Mitchellville

The primary audiences for the Simpson College Criminal Justice Futures program are current Simpson students, Simpson alumni in public policy and law enforcement fields, law enforcement agencies throughout the state and community activists and organizations seeking systemic reforms. Registration is free and available at simpson.zoom.us.
News Contact
Cathy Cole, Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communication
Direct: 515-961-1595
Email: cathy.cole@simpson.edu

Event Contact
Seth Andersen, Director of the John C. Culver Public Policy Center
Direct: 515-961-1354
Email: seth.andersen@simpson.edu