U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) on Friday renewed his efforts to create a commission to study the nation's criminal justice problems. Webb spoke at a program on “Undoing the Effects of Mass Incarceration” at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Webb's proposal was approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate Judiciary Committee in the last session of Congress. Supporters worked out an agreement to include it in a federal appropriations bill that failed to pass the Senate. The measure has the support of many criminal justice organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which has supported the idea for many years.
Friday's symposium looked at the costs and consequences of U.S. policies that have led to mass incarceration. “Research has shown that the U.S. incarceration system is among the most costly and least effective in the world,” said Faye Taxman, a George Mason professor and director of the school's Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence. “Our center and department are committed to engaging the community in evidence-based policy solutions and embracing practices that have less adverse consequences and result in more effective punishments and treatment of criminals at a reduced cost to taxpayers.” Webb has worked closely with George Mason in developing his commission proposal.