The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a proposal by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) to create a national criminal justice commission. The measure would establish a 14-member panel named by the president and congressional leaders of both parties to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the nation’s criminal justice system and offer recommendations for reform within 18 months.
The vote was applauded by Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which hopes that the new panel would call for eliminating mandatory terms for low-level drug offenders. The outlook for the legislation is uncertain. It must clear a crowded Senate calendar, and the idea has made little headway in the House so far.