Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Seeking a Justice Reform Review

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Seeking a Justice Reform Review

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- After nearly a year of inaction, a U.S. Senate pane has approved a comprehensive review of the nation's criminal justice system, including issues such as the disproportionate share of minorities--particularly African-Americans--in U.S. prisons. The action by the Senate Judiciary Committee sends the National Criminal Justice Commission Act to the full Senate for a vote later this year. Proposed by Sen. Jim Webb. D-Va., the bill would authorize a blue-ribbon commission of experts who would undertake an 18-month review.

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The U.S. has 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of all those in prisons, Webb said. Those released from prison also face multiple barriers to re-entry with few support services, he added.

The bill would not make any specific policy changes but would initiate a national review of policies toward incarceration, prisoner release, gangs, violent crime and other issues. The measure cleared the Senate committee with bipartisan support. The bill has not moved in the House.

"We are taking an inclusive, broad-based approach here. and I believe that's the best way to move our country away from a system based on ideology and fear and toward what is fair and what keeps us safe," said Webb, who introduced the measure last March. Before the Senate vote, the measure received endorsements from dozens of organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

At least one committee member said he was not abandoning a "get-tough" stance on crime in voting for the measure. …

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