History, Mission & Vision


In response to a justice system study by the National Institute of Corrections, the Winona County Board of Commissioners established the Winona County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in 2007. The CJCC is inclusive of all stakeholders in the Winona County criminal justice system, including policy-making representatives from the State, County, City, Private Bar and Community and has employed a collaborative approach in identifying and addressing justice-related issues to accomplish its vision.


To accomplish its vision, the Council will work systematically and cooperatively to review the elements of the criminal justice system and take an innovative approach to developing and evaluating proposals for change.


The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council brings together the participating agencies in the criminal justice system with representatives of local governments and the public. The Council seeks to assure for Winona County a criminal justice system that is fair and just, that provides for the public's safety, offers real opportunities for individuals to change the direction of their lives through rehabilitation and makes the best use of the public's funds.

Main CJCC Council

The CJCC Council is a policy-making council which meets on a monthly basis to consider and make recommendations based upon the work of the Council’s committees and workgroups.  The CJCC is the recognized forum in Winona County for justice system review, analysis, policy development and reform. The Council meets monthly, holds strategic planning sessions and accomplishes its work through five standing committees and their associated workgroups (open to anyone). Click HERE for a brochure on the CJCC.

CJCC Committees

The CJCC has five standing committees that meet on a monthly basis to discuss issues related to that committee’s charge.  The work of each committee is reported to and acted upon (as needed) by the CJCC Council. Each standing committee has (or has had) workgroups, comprised of relevant stakeholders regarding that issue, who meet on an as-needed basis to recommend changes/improvements to the governing standing committee. The committees and committee charges are as follows:

  • Crime Prevention (ASAP): To encourage the prevention of crime through coordinated and concentrated efforts, and through programs and functions that encourage citizen involvement and participation, to preserve safe environments and communities for the citizens of Winona County.
  • Community Outreach & Diversity: To educate the public about initiatives, programs and services supported by the CJCC; to build an atmosphere of respect and inclusion toward the criminal justice system regardless of culture or background; to identify community concerns that are related to the responsibilities of the CJCC and to prepare a detailed, proactive public relations plan to address those concerns.
  • Courts: The Courts Committee will search for strategies and procedures that will enable the courts to function more effectively and at reasonable cost to the taxpayer while upholding due process and the rule of law.
  • Jail & Jail Alternatives: The Committee will recommend alternatives to incarceration for the criminal justice system to consider. The Committee will research, evaluate and recommend programming designed to facilitate change in the individual and thus prevent future involvement in the criminal justice process.
  • Juvenile Justice: To encourage an effective juvenile justice system that promotes the well-being of youth while holding youth accountable for their actions and promoting public safety

Executive Director
Kalene Engel

CJCC Council Members

Since April 1, 2008, Attorney Kalene Engel has served as the Executive Director of the CJCC.  She graduated summa cum laude from Winona State University majoring in Paralegal studies, and later graduated summa cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, where she was the Valedictorian of her law school class.  In addition to her duties as CJCC Executive Director, Ms. Engel is the owner of Engel Law Office in Winona, where she concentrates her practice on family law, guardianships, child protection and related matters.  Ms. Engel also taught law classes for ten years as an Adjunct Professor at Winona State University, serves as Town Clerk of the Town of Milton and serves on a number of local boards. 

  • Karin Sonneman, Winona County Attorney (Chairperson)
  • Judy Gilow, Public Member (Vice-Chair)
  • Michelle Alexander, Winona City Council Member
  • Jeff Apse, Supt. St. Charles School District
  • Jennifer Backer, Supt. of Lewiston-Altura School District
  • Paul Bostrack, City of Winona Police Chief
  • Steve Buswell, Winona County Jail Administrator
  • Hon. Nancy Buytendorp, District Court Judge (3rd Dt.)
  • Karrie Espinoza, Winona County Court Administrator
  • Annette Freiheit, Supt. Winona Public School District
  • Mike Flaherty, City of Winona Attorney
  • Ron Ganrude, Winona County Sheriff
  • Ken Fritz, Winona County Administrator
  • Justin Green, Public Member
  • Kurt Knuesel, President of Winona County Bar Ass'n
  • Marie Kovecsi, Winona County Commissioner
  • A. Michael Kuehn, Asst. Public Defender (3rd Dt.)
  • Rena Patterson, Dt. Supervisor, MN Dept. of Corrections
  • Fatima Said, Project FINE & Public Member
  • Karen Sanness, Director of Winona Co. Community Services
  • Travis Volkman, Goodview Police Dept.