Constitution Project Applauds National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 as “Badly-Needed First Step” to Reform

For Immediate Release: April 2, 2009

Washington, D.C. – On March 26, 2009, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced bipartisan legislation, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009, to create a blue-ribbon commission to review America’s criminal justice system and provide recommendations for reform. The commission would be comprised of experts in fields including criminal justice, law enforcement, public heath, national security, prison administration, social services, prisoner reentry, and victims’ rights. Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are just a few of the bill’s co-sponsors.

On his website, Senator Webb addresses the many problems facing America’s crumbling criminal justice system: “Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation’s prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous. We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives.” The proposed Commission would “bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make concrete recommendations about how we can reform the process.”

This is a badly-needed first step to the kinds of reforms described in Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress, the transition document facilitated by the Constitution Project on behalf of 30 expert organizations and individuals. The catalogue identifies 43 criminal justice priorities in 15 issue areas, makes recommendations for congressional and executive action, and provides in-depth background information on a broad array of subjects.

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