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October 17, 2019

Large group of US Senators re-introduce bill to create National Criminal Justice Commission

As detailed in this press release from the office of U.S. Senator Gary Peters, a sizable group of Senators have reintroduced a criminal justice reform bill that I have long viewed as worthwhile. Here are excerpts from the release:

U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Cornyn (R-TX) [Wenesday] announced the reintroduction of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, bipartisan legislation that would task a National Criminal Justice Commission to assess the entire system and propose reforms to address the most pressing issues facing the nation’s criminal justice system....

The full list of bipartisan cosponsors for this bill includes Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

The legislation would create a 14-member, bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission charged with completing an 18-month, comprehensive review of the national criminal justice system, including federal, state, local and tribal criminal justice systems, and issuing recommendations for changes in oversight, policies, practices and laws to reduce crime, increase public safety and promote confidence in the criminal justice system.

The Commission would be made up of Presidential and Congressional appointees, including experts on law enforcement, criminal justice, victims’ rights, civil liberties and social services.  Peters, Graham and Cornyn previously introduced similar legislation to establish a National Criminal Justice Commission.  Their legislation passed the Senate in December 2018.

The transparent and bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission would also provide a better understanding of community relationships with law enforcement and the administration of justice through our court system, and identify effective policies to address a broad range of issues in the criminal justice system including crime reduction, incarceration and prisoner reentry.

The last comprehensive review of the criminal justice system was conducted in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson created the Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice.  The 1965 Commission’s report offered over 200 recommendations that have shaped the current criminal justice system, including the creation of the 9-1-1 system establishment of research organizations like the Bureau of Justice Statistics and improved training and professionalization for law enforcement.

The National Criminal Justice Commission Act is supported by a broad coalition of criminal justice organizations, including law enforcement and criminal justice reform advocates.

October 17, 2019 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

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