Senate Committee Passes Significant Criminal Justice Commission Legislation

January 21, 2010 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation today that would create a commission to examine the United States criminal justice system. The legislation, titled the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, was introduced by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA). The legislation would create a bipartisan commission tasked with examining the nation’s criminal justice system and offering reform recommendations in a number of important areas designed to prevent, deter and reduce crime and violence.

The following can be attributed to Jennifer Bellamy, American Civil Liberties Union Legislative Counsel:

“The committee’s passage of this bill is a significant step toward reforming our badly broken criminal justice system and addressing major inequality issues. A national consensus is emerging that our current criminal justice system is both unfair and unsustainable. America’s minorities have been suffering under our unbalanced criminal justice system due to unfair crack powder sentencing guidelines. Too often we jail our citizens for prolonged periods because judges are forced to use mandatory minimums as a one-size-fits-all solution to complex cases. Our prison populations are too large, our re-entry challenges for prisoners are too severe and our recidivism rates are too high. While we believe considerable grounds exist already to implement substantive reform, we also recognize the value in conducting a comprehensive review in an attempt to achieve bipartisan consensus on the best course for true reform. The ACLU looks forward to continuing to work with Congress in pushing that substantive and meaningful reform.”

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

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