Justice Kennedy Hails ABA Crime Study He Started

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“Society ought to ask itself how it’s allocating its resources,” Supreme Court Justice Anthonhy Kennedy said yesterday in accepting a report on criminal sentencing that an American Bar Association commission compiled at his request. The Los Angeles Times reports that Dennis Archer, ABA president and former Detroit mayor, declared that, “We can no longer sit by as more and more people – particularly in minority communities – are sent away for longer and longer periods of time while we make it more and more difficult for them to return to society after they serve their time. The system is broken. We need to fix it.”

The report, which was summarized yesterday on Crime & Justice News, noted that the number of incarcerated Americans and the cost of locking them up are massive and have been escalating significantly. Among proposals in the report: Repeal mandatory minimum sentencing laws; more funding for substance abuse and mental health programs; help for prisoners reentering society; task forces to study racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system; and expanded use of clemency and pardons to reduce sentences. Said Stephen Saltzburg, George Washington University law professor and commission member: “For too long we have focused almost exclusively on locking up criminals…. We have to remember that roughly 95% of the people we lock up eventually get out.”

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-punish24jun24,1,3305866.story?coll=la-headlines-nat

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