Suzuki RenoThe heart of Reno's agenda involves programs for the nation's children. As attorney general she pushed for reforms that would provide assistance to troubled youths at the earliest possible age, believing in the possibilities for redirecting children from careers in crime. For the youthful offender the idea was to use a measured carrot and stick approach that eliminated penal restrictions as increased responsibility was assumed for work, conduct, and education and that provided for coordinated reintegration into the community.
Reno advocated developing programs in the public schools that teach peaceful conflict resolution and proposed the development of teams of social workers, police officers, and public health officials to address the range of issues affecting youth. Reno's other concerns ranged broadly from commitments to aggressive civil rights enforcement in order to promote diversity and economic equity to the elimination of discrimination based on sexual preferences to tougher enforcement of environmental laws. The basic challenge Reno faced in her assignment involved translating her populist goals into real and substantive changes in the practice of law enforcement and the administration of justice.
As the first woman ever to hold the office of Attorney General, Janet Reno continues to make her mark in United States history. Her involvement in both the Branch Dravidian seize in Waco, Texas and the Oklahoma City Bombing have brought her worldwide recognition.
Further ReadingExcellent coverage of Attorney General Janet Reno's personal background, law enforcement philosophy, and proposed programs is provided in a variety of news magazines and professional journals. These include the following: Elaine Shannon, "The Unshakable Janet Reno," Vogue (August 1993); W. John Moore, "The Big Switch," National Journal (June 19, 1993); and Stephanie B. Goldberg and Henry J. Reske, "Talking with Attorney Janet Reno," ABA Journal (June 1993). See also Paul Andersen's Janet Reno - Doing the Right Thing (1994).