“First of all, nobody's asked me even though for three months, including my [recent] speech, I said I would be glad to meet people about what we could possibly do because I'm open to some reform,” Grassley says. Juvenile justice is among his top legislative priorities, and he has said he plans to co-sponsor a bill with Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse to reauthorize the 1974 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Grassley thinks there could be some reductions in mandatory minimums, but at the same time he wants to see increases in minimum sentences in other areas, such as child pornography and white-collar crime. He has also cited the need to prevent abuses in the forfeiture of civil assets, and to ensure that offenders receive fair representation.
President Obama neglected to invite Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) to the White House in February when he had 16 senators and representatives to a meeting to discuss criminal justice reform, says CQ Roll Call. Obama later reached out to Grassley, but the senator’s initial absence underscores his complicated and unpredictable role in this year's criminal justice debate. Grassley has made no bones about his passionate opposition to reducing mandatory minimum prison sentences, as proposed in the Smarter Sentencing Act by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL).