Sen. Webb Makes Case For American CJ Overhaul


As the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on his proposal to overhaul American criminal justice, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) posted an op-ed on Huffington Post explained his goal of creating a “presidential-level blue-ribbon commission charged with conducting an 18-month, top-to-bottom review of our nation’s entire criminal justice system, ultimately providing the Congress with specific, concrete recommendations for reform.”

Webb wrote that these “stark” statistics quantify the degree to which the system is broken: the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prison population; about 2.4 million Americans are in prison, and another 5 million are on probation or parole, so 1 in every 31 adults is under criminal justice supervision; incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980, up from 41,000 to 500,000 in 2008; 60% of offenders are arrested for non-violent offensives–many driven by mental illness or drug addiction. Webb advocates an enforcement focus on gangs and drug cartels and a new commitment on prison re-entry programs that offer former offenders “a true pathway towards a productive future.”

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