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June 25, 2009

Senator Webb's bill for criminal justice reform commission getting some House attention

As detailed in this Huffington Post piece, the "House of Representatives will be taking up a companion version of a popular Senate bill intended to overhaul the American criminal justice system, Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) told the Huffington Post on Wednesday."  Here's more:

Delahunt, the senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said that reform of the American justice system should begin with a broad look at drug policy. "I think it's really time to do an absolute overview of the issue of drugs and come at it with an open mind," he said.

The bill, he said, "would create a commission of respected individuals in the field with a time frame for review. This deals with gang violence and everything else, but clearly, as you continue to peel back the problems, dealing with crime in this country, and particularly violent crime, the one common nexus is drugs. So you've gotta take a hard look at that."

Delahunt is a former prosecutor from Massachusetts. Asked how his experience as a prosecutor shapes his thinking on drug legalization, he turned the question around. "I mean, how long have we been waging the war on drugs?" he said. Forty years? "Is it working?" he asked.

Webb's bill was heard on June 11th in Sen. Arlen Specter's (D-Penn.) Crime and Drugs Subcommittee and is moving quickly. It now boasts 30 cosponsors, including Specter and the Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), also a former prosecutor.

Jeralyn at TalkLeft has some spot-on commentary on this news in this post.

Some related (old and new) posts:

June 25, 2009 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

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Member of Registered Society for the Support of Offenders within Association for Probation and Offenders' Assistance.

Returned from CURE International meeting at UN Geneva I'd agree not only in reforming little by little some excrescent of a Prison Industrial Complex. Progressive democracies need a complete different approach. Finland gave good example after they were freed from Russian dictatorial occupation e.g.
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