Detroit News: Peters unveils bill to review criminal justice system

With the backing of two Republican U.S. Senators, Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters on Tuesday introduced legislation that would create a National Criminal Justice Commission to review the U.S. criminal justice system.

According to Peters, the intent of the commission is to scrutinize the justice system from top to bottom and to propose reforms to issues facing the system.

“Recent incidents, like the traffic stop of Floyd Dent in Inkster, and civil unrest in areas like Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, have highlighted the need ... for an evaluation of our criminal justice system,” Peters said.

“With a troubling rise in tensions between police and civilians in communities in Michigan and across the country ... it is clear that an overhaul of our justice system is long overdue.”

According to Peters, the last comprehensive review of the justice system took place in 1965 under President Lyndon Johnson with the creation of the Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice.

That commission report offered 200 recommendations that have shaped the current criminal justice system, including the creation of the 911 system, the establishment of research organizations like the Bureau of Justice Statistics and improved training and professionalization for law enforcement.

“Things have changed dramatically since 1965 and it’s time to take another look at the justice system,” Peters said.

By:  Tom Greenwood