Cornyn, Peters, Graham Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Create National Criminal Justice Commission
WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to create a National Criminal Justice Commission to review the criminal justice system from top to bottom. The National Criminal Justice Commission Act also proposes reforms to address the most pressing issues facing the nation’s criminal justice system.
“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,” Senator Cornyn said. “I’m proud to again join my colleagues on this bipartisan effort to empower both the men and women who risk their lives, and the communities they serve.”
“Our criminal justice system is built on the pillars of fairness and equality, but too many Americans see growing challenges in our justice system ranging from overburdened courts and unsustainable incarceration costs to strained relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said Senator Peters. “Creating the National Criminal Justice Commission is a critical step to help reduce crime, improve public safety and promote more equitable criminal justice practices. I’m proud to join Senators Graham and Cornyn to reintroduce this bipartisan bill that will identify much-needed solutions that will help strengthen our criminal justice system for every American at every level.”
“This is a long overdue measure,” said Senator Graham. “The men and women representing law enforcement understand the need for this legislation, and I appreciate them pushing Congress to move forward on this important issue. 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.”
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. In 2015, Cornyn joined Graham and Peters in introducing similar legislation to establish a National Criminal Justice Commission. The 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 National Criminal Justice Commission Act is supported by a broad coalition of criminal justice organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, NAACP, National Sheriffs Association, and National Urban League. Joining Cornyn, Graham and Peters are original cosponsors: Senators 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), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.