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Armstrong introduces Justice Reinvestment bill

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US Rep Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) has introduced a bill to put the Justice Reinvestment Initiative into federal code.

It’s a program from the Department of Justice. It makes grants to states, cities and tribes to study what drives crime, and to invest in strategies to reduce recidivism.

Armstrong said Justice Reinvestment Initiative is a targeted grant program, with money going to local law enforcement.

"Ninety-five percent of all criminal justice happens at the city, county or state level," Armstrong said. "The federal government can't solve the problem from DC."

Armstrong said what the federal government can do is to get these tools and incentives in the hands of various communities, who can learn from states like North Dakota.

"The country is getting to be a lot smaller place," Armstrong said. "If you can reduce recidivism in Minnesota or Montana, that helps in North Dakota as well."

As a state Senator in North Dakota, Armstrong chaired the Legislature’s Justice Reinvestment Committee, and helped to shepherd the overhaul of North Dakota’s Criminal Justice system.

Armstrong said this is the first bill he has introduced in Congress as the prime sponsor. He says there is bipartisan agreement on criminal justice reform.