Senators Push for Criminal Justice Commission

March 10, 2017 by

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators reintroduced legislation dubbed the “National Criminal Justice Commission Act,” which would create a commission to thoroughly review the country’s criminal justice system.

U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and John Cornyn (R-TX) authored the legislation, originally introduced in 2015, in hopes of having the commission propose reforms in every area of the criminal justice system.

The 14-member panel created by the legislation would work for 18 months reviewing every aspect of the system including federal, state, local, and tribal criminal justice systems. The proposals from the group would target oversight, crime reduction, public safety, and prosecution.

“Strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and our communities begins with open dialogue, and through an objective review system we can modernize and reform our criminal justice system,” said Cornyn.

The commission’s members would be both Presidential and Congressional appointees from law enforcement, criminal justice, victims’ rights and civil liberties groups, and social services.

Graham said, “This is a long overdue measure…I think the nation will be better off with this essential top-to-bottom review of the most pressing issues facing our nation’s criminal justice system.”

In a press release, Peters noted that the last review of this kind was done in 1965 under President Johnson’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. That commission gave us the 911 system as well as the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Eighteen other senators joined the authors in signing on to this legislation, including Roy Blunt (R-MO), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Marco Rubio (R-FL). Along with the senators, a number of policing and advocacy groups signed on to support the creation of the commission.


About the Author

Charles operates the Houston office for Empower Texans/Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.