House Passes Legislation Creating Criminal Justice Commission

July 27, 2010 11:30 pm

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WASHINGTON – A bill creating a bipartisan commission tasked with examining the nation’s criminal justice system was passed today in the House. The bill, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, would task the commission it creates with devising reform recommendations in a number of important areas designed to prevent, deter and reduce crime and violence.

Identical legislation was introduced in the Senate last year and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in this January.

America’s current criminal justice system continues to include pervasive racial and socioeconomic disparities and an over-reliance on incarceration to address nonviolent offenses. According to a 2008 report by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States, for the first time in U.S. history, more than one in every 100 adults in America is either in prison or jail.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“The National Criminal Justice Commission Act will be a solid first step toward overhauling our badly broken justice system and its unacceptable inequality issues. Over time, our lawmakers have created a severely unbalanced system that is disproportionately affecting our nation’s minorities with misguided policies including the many harsh, one-size-fits-all mandatory minimum sentences. Too many of our citizens are behind bars needlessly and too often their rights are ignored. The National Criminal Justice Commission Act may be the first step in correcting these problems, and we urge the Senate to swiftly pass its companion bill.”

The ACLU’s letter of support for the National Criminal Justice Commission Act can be found here:

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