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Sen. Peters National Criminal Justice Commission Provision Approved by Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved a provision based on bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Cornyn (R-TX) that would create a National Criminal Justice Commission. The commission would be tasked with conducting a top-to-bottom review and proposing recommendations to address the most pressing issues facing our nation’s criminal justice system. The provision passed as part of broader sentencing reform legislation.

“It’s been more than 50 years since we last conducted a comprehensive review of our criminal justice system, and this commission is long overdue,” said Senator Peters. “Every American should trust that they will be treated equally under the law, but numerous incidents in cities across the country have eroded faith in America’s in the system. It’s clear we need to address these serious concerns, including police and community relationships, our growing prison population and the cycle of recidivism. I’m pleased the Judiciary Committee approved this bipartisan provision that will help us identify solutions to ensure we are administering justice in a fair, equitable and effective way for every American.”

The provision creates a bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission to conduct an 18-month, comprehensive review of America’s criminal justice system. The review would include federal, state, local and tribal criminal justice systems, and issue recommendations for changes in oversight, policies, practices and laws to reduce crime, increase public safety and promote confidence in the criminal justice system.

The 14-member commission would be made up of Presidential and Congressional appointees, including experts on law enforcement, criminal justice, victims’ rights, civil liberties and social services. The commission will help provide a better understanding of community relationships with law enforcement and the administration of justice through our court system, and identify effective policies to address a broad range of issues in the criminal justice system including policing, crime reduction, incarceration and prisoner reentry.

The last comprehensive review of the criminal justice system was conducted in 1965 under President Lyndon Johnson. The 1965 Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice’s report offered over 200 recommendations that have shaped the current criminal justice system, including the creation of the 9-1-1 system, establishment of research organizations like the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and improved training and professionalization for law enforcement.

Peters is also a cosponsor of the broader sentencing reform package, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017, which revises prison sentences for nonviolent offenders and strengthens penalties for violent and career criminals. The legislation also includes provisions to address recidivism and help inmates successfully reenter society and limits the use of solitary confinement for juveniles.