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Harris Joins Colleagues to Reintroduce National Criminal Justice Commission Act
By Sentinel News Service
Published March 15, 2017

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 U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris joined a group of bipartisan colleagues recently to reintroduce the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, legislation that would create a National Criminal Justice Commission to review the criminal justice system from top to bottom and propose reforms to address the most pressing issues facing the nation’s criminal justice system.

“All Americans should feel confident that they will receive the equal treatment and protections of the law guaranteed to them under our Constitution,” said Senator Harris. “As a former prosecutor, I have been privileged to see our criminal justice system up close—how it works and how it doesn’t work. At a time when court dockets are overloaded and the bonds between law enforcement and the communities they serve needs to be strengthened, a smart on crime approach is essential. I’m proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and organizations across the political spectrum to continue this important conversation and propose constructive and innovative ways forward.”

The legislation would create a 14-member, bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission charged with completing an 18-month, comprehensive review of the national criminal justice system, including federal, state, local and tribal criminal justice systems, and issuing recommendations for changes in oversight, policies, practices and laws to reduce crime, increase public safety and promote confidence in the criminal justice system.

The Commission would be made up of Presidential and Congressional appointees, including experts on law enforcement, criminal justice, victims’ rights, civil liberties and social services.

The transparent and bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission would also provide a better understanding of community relationships with law enforcement and the administration of justice through our court system, and identify effective policies to address a broad range of issues in the criminal justice system including crime reduction, incarceration and prisoner reentry.

The last comprehensive review of the criminal justice system was conducted in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson created the Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. The 1965 Commission’s report offered over 200 recommendations that have shaped the current criminal justice system, including the creation of the 9-1-1 system, establishment of research organizations like the Bureau of Justice Statistics and improved training and professionalization for law enforcement.

Joining Harris are original cosponsors: Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bob Casey (D-PA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mark Warner (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

The National Criminal Justice Commission Act is supported by a broad coalition of criminal justice organizations, including law enforcement, crime victims and criminal justice reform advocates such as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Fraternal Order of Police, the NAACP the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Urban League, and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

Categories: Politics
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