Wednesday, July 28, 2010

National Criminal Justice Commission Act Passes House by Unanimous Consent

Historical legislation first proposed by Senator Jim Webb was passed with unanimous consent by the US House of Representatives yesterday. The H.R. 5143 bill is the companion to Senator Webb's legislation, S. 714, which was introduced in the Senate on Mar. 26, 2009 and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 21, 2010.

The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2010 would create a blue-ribbon commission to review every aspect of our criminal justice system. Within the 18-month evaluation, the commission's task will be to propose concrete, wide-ranging reforms to address the most pressing issues facing the nation's criminal justice system.

Julie Stewart, of Families Against Mandatory Minimums explains the significance of this vote:

"Today's vote shows Congress is aware that our nation's criminal justice system is in need of major repair," said Ms. Stewart. "With 2.3 million people in its jails and prisons, the United States has the highest incarceration in the world. One of out of 31 Americans is under some sort of correctional supervision – jail or prison, parole or probation. Brave though we may be, we are no longer the land of the free."
The National Criminal Justice Commission Act has already garnered wide support from 39 Senate cosponsors and a long list of national organizations and business endorsements. The bill is now awaiting passage to the White House and President Obama's signature.

It's unlikely that if this commission takes a serious look at the problems within our criminal justice system, they will not advocate for reforms of our nation's drug laws.