Save Webb Justice Commission, Say New York Times, Washington Post


The New York Times and Washington Post simultaneously came down on Senate Republicans for voting to block a proposal by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) to create a bipartisan commission to review the nation's troubled criminal justice system and offer recommendations for reform. The Times notes that some senators falsely claimed that it would “encroach on states' rights.” With crime down and 2.3 million people in prisons and jails, says the Times, “Reasonable senators should support the bipartisan commission that Senator Webb is calling for, which would cost only $5 million and could help bring about compelling reforms.”

The Washington Post calls the Webb approach “long overdue,” noting that the last comprehensive review of criminal justice was conducted roughly 45 years ago during the Johnson administration. The Post says criticisms from Republicans and the National District Attorneys Association “fall flat,” adding that the commission “would only study the policies of local, state and national law enforcement entities and make recommendations about best practices. It would have no power to issue mandates. The federal government, which distributes federal dollars as incentives for states and localities to adopt best practices, has a legitimate need to know which policies work.”

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