GOP Conservative Joins Black Caucus on Sentencing Reform

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Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) wants the GOP-controlled Congress to move on long-stalled efforts to change federal sentencing laws next year, and he has enlisted a seemingly unlikely ally: The head of the Congressional Black Caucus, McClatchy Newspapers report. Walker, chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, is teaming with Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA).

The GOP group includes 17 House committee chairs. Richmond steers a group of 49 African-American lawmakers — 48 Democrats, one Republican (Mia Love of Utah) and two Democratic senators. Richmond and Walker say the criminal justice system harms families, particularly in communities of color, costs the federal government too much money, and does little to reduce recidivism. Walker said, “We felt that if the chairmen of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Republican Study Committee can come together on something, it may create enough attention to say ‘Okay, maybe this is bigger than the political lingo that you hear out of D.C. every week.’” Senators re-introduced a 2015 sentencing overhaul and corrections bill last month.

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