A proposed National Criminal Justice Commission would conduct a “top to bottom” review of the justice system comparable to the one done by the crime commission appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, says an adviser to commission sponsor Senator James Webb (D-Va.) Webb has concentrated on prison and sentencing issues, but the national panel would examine everything from crime prevention to prosecutorial misconduct, Doug Ierley, counsel to Webb, told a meeting of criminal justice organizations in Washington, D.C. yesterday.
President Obama and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy are among the idea’s supporters. The International Association of Chiefs of Police has proposed a similar commission. Several justice organizations urged Webb to include representation from county and city governments on the commission, because most criminal justice systems are operated locally. The bill proposes an 18-month study to make recommendations “to improve public safety, cost-effectiveness, overall prison administration, and fairness in the implementation of the nation’s criminal justice system.”