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Detroit Free Press: Peters, GOP senators push change for justice system

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and a couple of key Republican colleagues reintroduced legislation today that would create a commission to look at reforming the criminal justice system.

Peters, D-Mich., proposed the same bill last year, and it won inclusion in a sentencing reform bill that was in the works for passage before running out of time at the end of last year.

U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, who are key members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, are also sponsors, increasing the bill's likelihood of passage in a Republican-led chamber.

“Too many Americans see growing challenges in our justice system, ranging from overburdened courts and unsustainable incarceration costs to strained relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said Peters.

The bill, if passed by both chambers and signed into law by President Donald Trump, would create a 14-member commission expected to conduct a comprehensive 18-month-long review of the criminal justice system and issue recommendations for police oversight and policies, laws to reduce crime and increase public safety and any other changes that may promote confidence in the criminal justice system.

According to Peters’ office, the last comprehensive review of the criminal justice system was conducted in 1965. That review made more than 200 recommendations, including the creation of the 911 system, research organizations such as the Bureau of Justice Statistics and improved training for police.

Several other Republicans and Democrats have signed on as cosponsors this year, including U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, also D-Mich.