criminal justice reform

Criminal Justice Reform Efforts Gain Momentum in Congress

After several years moving towards consensus on areas of criminal justice reform, there is bipartisan optimism in Congress that legislation may move this year.

That some of the reforms being discussed align with areas of focus for President Obama, the possibility that reform legislation becomes law this congressional session is greater than at other points of recent history.

The leaders of the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA.) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) issued a statement this week on their committee’s bipartisan criminal justice reform initiative.

“Earlier this summer, the House Judiciary Committee listened to House Members’ ideas and proposals for criminal justice reform. Following the Committee’s listening session, we are working together over the August break with the goal of crafting bipartisan solutions to address the issues facing our criminal justice system,” Goodlatte and Conyers stated. “Together, we will pursue responsible, common sense criminal justice reforms to make sure our federal laws and regulations effectively and appropriately punish wrongdoers, protect individual freedom, safeguard civil liberties, work as efficiently and fairly as possible, do not impede state efforts, and do not waste taxpayer dollars. We plan to introduce bipartisan legislation this September so that our criminal justice system better achieves justice and reflects core American values.”

Members of the House Judiciary Committee are not alone among House members in focusing on this issue. In mid-July, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) held two days of hearings (part 1; part 2) on the subject.

Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) also announced the formation of a newly-formed Congressional Criminal Justice and Public Safety Caucus, and will serve as its co-chairs.

Similar bipartisan efforts are taking place in the Senate, where Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dick Durbin (D-IL) are among lawmakers involved in criminal justice reform efforts.

POLITICO is reporting that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will soon be unveiling a bipartisan reform package that’s been in the works for months.

FEDagent will track developments on criminal justice reform efforts and what they might mean for federal law enforcement.

Posted in General News


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