Steib appointed to Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Implementation Oversight Council

Published 12:19 am Saturday, January 15, 2022

BATON ROUGE — Syrita Steib, a St. James Parish native and current resident of Metairie, was recently appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards to the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Implementation Oversight Council. She will serve at-large.

The Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Implementation Oversight Council studies the state’s criminal justice system to recommend strategic changes to improve Louisiana’s public safety by reducing the prison population. It offers a report to the Legislature of cost-effective, evidence-based sentencing and corrections reforms that promote offender accountability and protects public safety.

Steib is the executive director of Operation Restoration. Formed in 2016 and led by formerly incarcerated women, Operation Restoration’s mission is to support women and girls impacted by incarceration to recognize their full potential, restore their lives and discover new possibilities. The nonprofit focuses on breaking down barriers to employment, education, housing and other means of self-sufficiency.

Steib believes, “It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.”

At age 19, Steib was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for auto theft and burning down a dealership in Texas. She was released from prison in 2009 at the age of 29. As she tried to adapt to re-entering society, she discovered her past criminal history was preventing her from pursuing a college education.

Having to check a box to indicate a prior conviction led to rejections on applications. It took Steib’s persistence and the help of state representatives to push forward the “Ban the Box” bill to give ex-offenders a fair chance at pursuing education at public colleges and universities.

Steib was among 143 people pardoned by Donald Trump in the final hours of his presidency in January 2021.

Also appointed to the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Implementation Oversight Council were:

  • Senator Regina Barrow of Baton Rouge
  • Honorable Roland L. Belsome Jr. of New Orleans
  • Honorable Louis R. Daniel of Gonzales
  • Representative Royce Duplessis of New Orleans
  • Senator Franklin Foil of Baton Rouge
  • Billy J. Harrington of Natchez
  • Norris Henderson of New Orleans
  • James M. “Jimmy” LeBlanc of Baton Rouge
  • Representative Joseph A. Marino III of Gretna
  • Scott E. Peyton of Washington
  • William A. “Bill” Sommers Sr. of Lake Charles