NY Times Urges Congressional Action On Justice Study Panel


Politicians who do not agree on much else agree that the nation's broken criminal justice system needs to be fixed, says the New York Times. The Times notes in an editorial that a bipartisan group of House members has introduced a bill that would establish a blue-ribbon commission to study the issues and propose solutions. The Senate Judiciary Committee has endorsed a version of the proposal, sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.)

The U.S. has the highest reported incarceration rate in the world. There are a wide array of approaches, including drug treatment and prisoner re-entry projects, that could bring these numbers down, save taxpayers' dollars, and give prisoners a real chance to get their lives back on track, the Times says. The newspaper says that some resources being wasted on incarcerating minor law-breakers should be redirected to more serious threats to public safety, including violent gangs. Under the proposed federal legislation, a commission of respected criminal justice experts would examine these problems and come up with an action blueprint. The Times concludes that, “Given the current fiscal pressures and rare bipartisan agreement, there is a real chance to address the criminal justice system's very serious problems.”

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