Monday, March 30, 2009

Senator James Webb Calls for Criminal Justice Overhaul

A quick video about Webb's proposal:

From Senator Webb's web site:

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) today introduced bipartisan legislation, The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 (S.714), to create a blue-ribbon commission charged with conducting an 18-month, top-to-bottom review of the nation's entire criminal justice system and offering concrete recommendations for reform. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee, is the principal Republican cosponsor.

The high-level commission created by the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 legislation will be comprised of experts in fields including criminal justice, law enforcement, public heath, national security, prison administration, social Services, prisoner reentry, and victims' rights. It will be led by a chairperson to be appointed by the President. The Majority and Minority Leaders in the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republican Governors Associations will appoint the remaining members of the commission.

"America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace," said Senator Webb. "With five percent of the world's population, our country houses twenty-five percent of the world's prison population. Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980. And four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals. We should be devoting precious law enforcement capabilities toward making our communities safer. Our neighborhoods are at risk from gang violence, including transnational gang violence.

Webb continued: "There is great appreciation from most in this country that we are doing something drastically wrong. And, I am gratified that Senator Specter has joined me as the lead Republican cosponsor of this effort. We are committed to getting this legislation passed and enacted into law this year."

Coverage of Webb's proposal in the March 29, 2009, edition of Parade Magazine:

Here's a link to the proposed legistlation:

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