Note: I applaud Senator Webb’s efforts to push much needed reform and overhaul of our criminal justice system … the following information was provided by his office about the legislation … :
Legislation to Evaluate and Overhaul the Criminal Justice System
On Thursday, March 26, Senator Jim Webb introduced the “National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009” in the U.S. Senate. The bipartisan legislation will create a blue-ribbon commission charged with undertaking an 18-month, top-to-bottom review of our entire criminal justice system and offering concrete recommendations for reform.
Senator Webb’s legislation is the result of decades of investigation and more than two years of intense work in the U.S. Senate. It has already garnered wide support from Senate leadership, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Obama Administration. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee, joined Webb as the principal Republican cosponsor.
Senator Webb said on the floor this week: “America’s criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. 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. Our neighborhoods are at risk from gang violence, including transnational gang violence. We should be devoting precious law enforcement capabilities toward making our communities safer.
“There is great appreciation from most in this country that we are doing something drastically wrong. And I am committed to getting this legislation passed and enacted into law this year.”
The following is a resource guide on the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009. For more information, visit: webb.senate.gov or feel free to contact our office.
Also, be sure to read Senator Webb’s front cover story in PARADE Magazine this Sunday, entitled: “What’s Wrong With Our Prisons?” An advance copy of the publication can be found on our website here »
And, tune into Senator Webb’s interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition of All Things Considered at 5:00pm on Sunday.
MATERIALS AND RESOURCES
- Read the legislation. »
- Fact sheet on the legislation. »
- Senator Webb’s floor speech introducing the legislation. »
- PARADE Magazine cover story, “What’s Wrong with our Prisons?” Senator Jim Webb, Sunday March 29, 2009 »
- The scope of the problem: relevant charts and graphs. »
MATERIALS FROM PAST HEARINGS, SYMPOSIUMS
- Joint Economic Committee Hearing, conducted by Senator Webb, “Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?” October 2007 »
- Joint Economic Committee Hearing, conducted by Senator Webb, “Illegal Drugs: Economic Impact, Societal Costs, and Policy Responses,” June 2008 »
- George Mason University Symposium, hosted by Senator Webb and the GMU Administration of Justice Department, “Drugs in America: Trafficking, Policy and Sentencing,” October 2008 »
- Senator Webb’s Keynote Address to the Brookings Institution’s Policy Roundtable on the Challenges to Prisoner Re-entry, December 2008 »
NEWS ARTICLES & COMMENTARY
- New York Times Editorial: “Sen. Webb’s Call for Prison Reform” »
- Washington Post: “Webb Sets His Sights On Prison Reform” »
- U.S. News & World Report: “James Webb Shows Leadership Regarding Prison Reform” »
- The Virginian Pilot Editorial: “Time to Rethink Goals of Prison” »
- Roanoke Times Editorial: “The Criminal Justice System Needs Help” »
- Daily Press: “Alternative to Jail for Addicts Gains New Supporter” »
- The Virginian Pilot: “Senator Elevates Debate on Failed Drug, Prison Policies” »
- Las Vegas Sun Editorial: “Voice for Broken Prisons” »
- Washington Post Op-Ed: “Two Separate Societies: One in Prison, One Not” »
- The Roanoke Times Editorial: “A Sensible Call for Sentencing Reform” »